Walt Whitman – Years of the Unperformed

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Years of the unperformed! your horizon rises—I see it part away for more
august dramas;
I see not America only—I see not only Liberty’s nation but other nations
I see tremendous entrances and exits—I see new combinations—I see the
solidarity of races;
I see that force advancing with irresistible power on the world’s stage;
Have the old forces played their parts? are the acts suitable to them
I see Freedom, completely armed, and victorious, and very haughty, with Law
by her side, both issuing forth against the idea of caste;
—What historic denouements are these we so rapidly approach?
I see men marching and countermarching by swift millions!
I see the frontiers and boundaries of the old aristocracies broken;
I see the landmarks of European kings removed;
I see this day the People beginning their landmarks, all others give way;
Never were such sharp questions asked as this day;
Never was average man, his soul, more energetic, more like a God.
Lo! how he urges and urges, leaving the masses no rest;
His daring foot is on land and sea everywhere—he colonises the Pacific,
the archipelagoes;
With the steam-ship, the electric telegraph, the newspaper, the wholesale
engines of war,
With these, and the world-spreading factories, he interlinks all geography,
all lands;
—What whispers are these, O lands, running ahead of you, passing under the
Are all nations communing? is there going to be but one heart to the globe?
Is humanity forming en masse?—for lo! tyrants tremble, crowns grow dim;
The earth, restive, confronts a new era, perhaps a general divine war;
No one knows what will happen next—such portents fill the days and nights.
Years prophetical! the space ahead as I walk, as I vainly try to pierce it,
is full of phantoms;
Unborn deeds, things soon to be, project their shapes around me;
This incredible rush and heat—this strange ecstatic fever of dreams, O
Your dreams, O years, how they penetrate through me! (I know not whether I
sleep or wake!)
The performed America and Europe grow dim, retiring in shadow behind me,
The unperformed, more gigantic than ever, advance, advance upon me.