Walt Whitman

Here you will find the Long Poem A Proadway Pageant of poet Walt Whitman

A Proadway Pageant

OVER the western sea, hither from Niphon come,
 Courteous, the swart-cheek'd two-sworded envoys,
 Leaning back in their open barouches, bare-headed, impassive,
 Ride to-day through Manhattan.

 I do not know whether others behold what I behold,
 In the procession, along with the nobles of Asia, the errand-
 Bringing up the rear, hovering above, around, or in the ranks
 But I will sing you a song of what I behold, Libertad.

 When million-footed Manhattan, unpent, descends to her pavements; 10
 When the thunder-cracking guns arouse me with the proud roar I love;
 When the round-mouth'd guns, out of the smoke and smell I love, spit
 their salutes;
 When the fire-flashing guns have fully alerted me--when heaven-clouds
 canopy my city with a delicate thin haze;
 When, gorgeous, the countless straight stems, the forests at the
 wharves, thicken with colors;
 When every ship, richly drest, carries her flag at the peak;
 When pennants trail, and street-festoons hang from the windows;
 When Broadway is entirely given up to foot-passengers and foot-
 standers--when the mass is densest;
 When the façades of the houses are alive with people--when eyes gaze,
 riveted, tens of thousands at a time;
 When the guests from the islands advance--when the pageant moves
 forward, visible;
 When the summons is made--when the answer that waited thousands of
 years, answers; 20
 I too, arising, answering, descend to the pavements, merge with the
 crowd, and gaze with them.

 Superb-faced Manhattan!
 Comrade Americanos!--to us, then, at last, the Orient comes.

 To us, my city,
 Where our tall-topt marble and iron beauties range on opposite
 sides--to walk in the space between,
 To-day our Antipodes comes.

 The Originatress comes,
 The nest of languages, the bequeather of poems, the race of eld,
 Florid with blood, pensive, rapt with musings, hot with passion,
 Sultry with perfume, with ample and flowing garments, 30
 With sunburnt visage, with intense soul and glittering eyes,
 The race of Brahma comes!

 See, my cantabile! these, and more, are flashing to us from the
 As it moves, changing, a kaleidoscope divine it moves, changing,
 before us.

 For not the envoys, nor the tann'd Japanee from his island only;
 Lithe and silent, the Hindoo appears--the Asiatic continent itself
 appears--the Past, the dead,
 The murky night morning of wonder and fable, inscrutable,
 The envelop'd mysteries, the old and unknown hive-bees,
 The North--the sweltering South--eastern Assyria--the Hebrews--the
 Ancient of Ancients,
 Vast desolated cities--the gliding Present--all of these, and more,
 are in the pageant-procession. 40

 Geography, the world, is in it;
 The Great Sea, the brood of islands, Polynesia, the coast beyond;
 The coast you, henceforth, are facing--you Libertad! from your
 Western golden shores
 The countries there, with their populations--the millions en-masse,
 are curiously here;
 The swarming market places--the temples, with idols ranged along the
 sides, or at the end--bonze, brahmin, and lama;
 The mandarin, farmer, merchant, mechanic, and fisherman;
 The singing-girl and the dancing-girl--the ecstatic person--the
 secluded Emperors,
 Confucius himself--the great poets and heroes--the warriors, the
 castes, all,
 Trooping up, crowding from all directions--from the Altay mountains,
 From Thibet--from the four winding and far-flowing rivers of
 China, 50
 From the Southern peninsulas, and the demi-continental islands--from
 These, and whatever belongs to them, palpable, show forth to me, and
 are seiz'd by me,
 And I am seiz'd by them, and friendlily held by them,
 Till, as here, them all I chant, Libertad! for themselves and for

 For I too, raising my voice, join the ranks of this pageant;
 I am the chanter--I chant aloud over the pageant;
 I chant the world on my Western Sea;
 I chant, copious, the islands beyond, thick as stars in the sky;
 I chant the new empire, grander than any before--As in a vision it
 comes to me;
 I chant America, the Mistress--I chant a greater supremacy; 60
 I chant, projected, a thousand blooming cities yet, in time, on those
 groups of sea-islands;
 I chant my sail-ships and steam-ships threading the archipelagoes;
 I chant my stars and stripes fluttering in the wind;
 I chant commerce opening, the sleep of ages having done its work--
 races, reborn, refresh'd;
 Lives, works, resumed--The object I know not--but the old, the
 Asiatic, renew'd, as it must be,
 Commencing from this day, surrounded by the world.

 And you, Libertad of the world!
 You shall sit in the middle, well-pois'd, thousands of