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About this Item

Title: A Thought of Columbus

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: July 2, 1892

Whitman Archive ID: per.00149

Source: Once A Week (2 July 1892): 4. Our transcription is based on a digital image of a microfilm copy of an original issue. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, April Lambert, and Susan Belasco

image 1


The mystery of mysteries, the crude and hurried cease-
less flame, spontaneous, bearing on itself.
The bubble and the huge, round, concrete orb!
A breath of Deity, as thence the bulging universe un-
The many issuing cycles from their precedent minute!
The eras of the soul incepting in an hour,
Haply the widest, farthest evolutions of the world and
Thousands and thousands of miles hence, and now four
centuries back,
A mortal impulse thrilling its brain cell,
Reck'd or unreck'd, the birth can no longer be postponed:
A phantom of the moment, mystic, stalking, sudden,
Only a silent thought, yet toppling down of more than
walls of brass or stone.
(A flutter at the darkness' edge as if old Time's and
Space's secret revealing.)
A thought! a definite thought works out in shape.
Four hundred years roll on.
The rapid cumulus—trade navigation, war, peace, democ-
racy, roll on;
The restless armies and the fleets of time following their
leader—the old camps of ages pitch'd in newer,
larger areas,
The tangled, long-deferr'd eclaircissement of human life
and hope boldly begins untying,
As here to-day up-grows the Western World.
(An added word yet to my song, far Discoverer, as ne'er
before sent back to son of earth—
If still thou hearest, hear me
Voicing as now—lands, races, arts, bravas to thee
O'er the long backward path to thee—one vast con-
sensus, north, south, east, west,
Soul plaudits! acclamation! reverent echoes!
One manifold, huge memory to thee! oceans and
The modern world to thee and thought of thee!)
CAMDEN, N.J., February and March, 1892.

[Copyrighted, 1892, by ONCE A WEEK.]


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