Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse
But now I think there is no unreturn'd love, the pay is certain
one way or another,
(I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return'd,
Yet out of that I have written these songs.)
Song of Myself, 41
I am he bringing help for the sick as they pant on their backs, And for strong upright men I bring yet more needed help. I heard what was said of the universe, Heard it and heard it of several thousand years; It is middling well as far as it goes—but is that all? Magnifying and applying come I, Outbidding at the start the old cautious hucksters, Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah, Lithographing Kronos, Zeus his son, and Hercules his grandson, Buying drafts of Osiris, Isis, Belus, Brahma, Buddha, In my portfolio placing Manito loose, Allah on a leaf, the crucifix engraved, With Odin and the hideous-faced Mexitli and every idol and image, Taking them all for what they are worth and not a cent more, Admitting they were alive and did the work of their days, (They bore mites as for unfledg'd birds who have now to rise and fly and sing for themselves,) Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself, bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see, Discovering as much or more in a framer framing a house, Putting higher claims for him there with his roll'd-up sleeves driving the mallet and chisel, Not objecting to special revelations, considering a curl of smoke or a hair on the back of my hand just as curious as any revelation, Lads ahold of fire-engines and hook-and-ladder ropes no less to me than the gods of the antique wars, Minding their voices peal through the crash of destruction, Their brawny limbs passing safe over charr'd laths, their white foreheads whole and unhurt out of the flames; By the mechanic's wife with her babe at her nipple interceding for every person born, Three scythes at harvest whizzing in a row from three lusty angels with shirts bagg'd out at their waists, The snag-tooth'd hostler with red hair redeeming sins past and to come, Selling all he possesses, traveling on foot to fee lawyers for his brother and sit by him while he is tried for forgery; What was strewn in the amplest strewing the square rod about me, and not filling the square rod then, The bull and the bug never worshipp'd half enough, Dung and dirt more admirable than was dream'd, The supernatural of no account, myself waiting my time to be one of the supremes, The day getting ready for me when I shall do as much good as the best, and be as prodigious; By my life-lumps! becoming already a creator, Putting myself here and now to the ambush'd womb of the shadows.