Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Walt Whitman Faces Financial Depression

In the U.S. financial depression of 1873, Walt Whitman wrote, "Wandering at Morn":

Wandering at morn,
Emerging from the night from gloomy thoughts, thee in my thoughts,
Yearning for thee harmonious Union! thee, singing bird divine!
Thee coil'd in evil times my country, with craft and black dismay,
with every meanness, treason thrust upon thee,
This common marvel I beheld -- the parent thrush I watch'd
feeding its young,
The singing thrush whose tones of joy and faith ecstatic,
Fail not to certify and cheer my soul.

There ponder'd, felt I,
If worms, snakes, loathsome grubs, may to sweet spiritual songs be turn'd,
If vermin so transposed, so used and bless'd may be,
Then may I trust in you, your fortunes, days, my country;
Who knows but these may be the lessons fit for you?
From these your future song may rise with joyous trills,
Destin'd to fill the world.

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