Walt Whitman

"Song of Democracy"

An old man's thoughts of school
An old man's gathering youthful memories and
Blooms that youth itself cannot

Now only do I know You
O fair auroral skies - O morning dew upon the grass!

And these I see, these sparkling eyes
These stores of mystic meaning, these young lives
Building, equipping like a fleet of ships, immortal ships
Soon to sail out over the measureless seas
On the soul's voyage

Only a lot of boys and girls?
Only the tiresome spelling, writing, ciphering classes?
Only a public school?
Ah more, infinitely more

And you America
Cast you the real reckoning for your present?
The lights and shadows of your future, good or evil?
To girlhood, boyhood look, the teacher and the school

Sail, Sail thy best, ship of Democracy
Of value is thy freight, 'tis not the present only
The Past is also stored in thee
Thou holdest not the venture of thyself alone
Not of thy Western continent alone
Earth's resume entire floats on thy keel, O ship
Is steadied by thy spars
With thee Time voyages in trust, the antecedent
Nations sink or swim with thee
With all their ancient struggles, martyrs, heroes
Epics, wars, thou bear'st the other continents
Theirs, theirs as much as thine, the destination -
Port triumphant;
Steer then with good strong hand and wary eye
O helmsman, thou carriest great companions
Venerable priestly Asia sails this day with thee
And royal feudal Europe sails with thee
And royal feudal Europe sails with thee

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