The sun and stars that float in the open air,
The apple-shaped earth and we upon it,
surely the drift of them is something grand,
I do not know what it is except that it is grand, and that it is happiness,
And that the enclosing purport of us here is not a speculation
or bon-mot or reconnoissance,
And that it is not something which by luck may turn out well for us,
and without luck must be a failure for us,
And not something which may yet be retracted in a certain contingency.
The light and shade, the curious sense of body and identity,
the greed that with perfect complaisance devours all things,
The endless pride and outstretching of man, unspeakable joys and sorrows,
The wonder every one sees in every one else he sees,
and the wonders that fill each minute of time forever,
What have you reckon'd them for, camerado?
Have you reckon'd them for your trade or farm-work?
or for the profits of your store?
Or to achieve yourself a position? or to fill a gentleman's leisure,
or a lady's leisure?
Have you reckon'd that the landscape took substance and form
that it might be painted in a picture?
Or men and women that they might be written of, and songs sung?
Or the attraction of gravity, and the great laws
and harmonious combinations and the fluids of the air,
as subjects for the savans?
Or the brown land and the blue sea for maps and charts?
Or the stars to be put in constellations and named fancy names?
Or that the growth of seeds is for agricultural tables,
or agriculture itself?
Old institutions, these arts, libraries, legends, collections,
and the practice handed along in manufactures,
will we rate them so high?
Will we rate our cash and business high? I have no objection,
I rate them as high as the highest—then a child born of a woman and man
I rate beyond all rate.
We thought our Union grand, and our Constitution grand,
I do not say they are not grand and good, for they are,
I am this day just as much in love with them as you,
Then I am in love with You, and with all my fellows upon the earth.
We consider bibles and religions divine—I do not say they are not divine,
I say they have all grown out of you, and may grow out of you still,
It is not they who give the life, it is you who give the life,
Leaves are not more shed from the trees, or trees from the earth,
than they are shed out of you.
Will the whole come back then?
Can each see signs of the best by a look in the looking-glass?
is there nothing greater or more?
Does all sit there with you, with the mystic unseen soul?
Strange and hard that paradox true I give,
Objects gross and the unseen soul are one.
House-building, measuring, sawing the boards,
Blacksmithing, glass-blowing, nail-making, coopering,
Ship-joining, dock-building, fish-curing, flagging of sidewalks by flaggers,
The pump, the pile-driver, the great derrick, the coal-kiln and brick-kiln,
Coal-mines and all that is down there, the lamps in the darkness,
echoes, songs, what meditations, what vast native thoughts
looking through smutch'd faces,
Iron-works, forge-fires in the mountains or by river-banks,
men around feeling the melt with huge crowbars, lumps of ore,
the due combining of ore, limestone, coal,
The blast-furnace and the puddling-furnace,
the loup-lump at the bottom of the melt at last, the rolling-mill,
the stumpy bars of pig-iron, the strong clean-shaped T-rail for railroads,
Oil-works, silk-works, white-lead-works, the sugar-house, steam-saws,
the great mills and factories,
Stone-cutting, shapely trimmings for facades or window or door-lintels,
the mallet, the tooth-chisel, the jib to protect the thumb,
The calking-iron, the kettle of boiling vault-cement,
and the fire under the kettle,
The cotton-bale, the stevedore's hook, the saw and buck of the sawyer,
the mould of the moulder, the working-knife of the
butcher, the ice-saw, and all the work with ice,
The work and tools of the rigger, grappler, sail-maker, block-maker,
Goods of gutta-percha, papier-mache, colors, brushes, brush-making,
The veneer and glue-pot, the confectioner's ornaments,
the decanter and glasses, the shears and flat-iron,
The awl and knee-strap, the pint measure and quart measure,
the counter and stool, the writing-pen of quill or metal,
the making of all sorts of edged tools,
The brewery, brewing, the malt, the vats, every thing that is done by brewers,
Leather-dressing, coach-making, boiler-making, rope-twisting,
distilling, sign-painting, lime-burning, cotton-picking,
electroplating, electrotyping, stereotyping,
Stave-machines, planing-machines, reaping-machines,
ploughing-machines, thrashing-machines, steam wagons,
The cart of the carman, the omnibus, the ponderous dray,
Pyrotechny, letting off color'd fireworks at night, fancy figures and jets;
Beef on the butcher's stall, the slaughter-house of the butcher,
the butcher in his killing-clothes,
The pens of live pork, the killing-hammer, the hog-hook, the scalder's tub,
gutting, the cutter's cleaver, the packer's maul,
and the plenteous winterwork of pork-packing,
Flour-works, grinding of wheat, rye, maize, rice,
the barrels and the half and quarter barrels, the loaded barges,
the high piles on wharves and levees,
The men and the work of the men on ferries, railroads,
coasters, fish-boats, canals;
The hourly routine of your own or any man's life,
the shop, yard, store, or factory,
These shows all near you by day and night—workman!
whoever you are, your daily life!
In that and them the heft of the heaviest—in that and them far more
than you estimated, (and far less also,)
In them realities for you and me, in them poems for you and me,
In them, not yourself—you and your soul enclose all things,
regardless of estimation,
In them the development good—in them all themes, hints, possibilities.
I do not affirm that what you see beyond is futile, I do not advise you to stop,
I do not say leadings you thought great are not great,
But I say that none lead to greater than these lead to.