Song of My Soul

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Little is known about the author of this hymn. Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel was born in The date of her death is unknown. As her name suggests, she may have come from an aristocratic family. Some hymnologists suggest that she may have become a Lutheran nun. We know her as the author of "Stille, mein Wille; dein Jesus hilft siegen" published in a collection entitled Neue Sammlung geistlicher Lieder A new collection of spiritual songs in , one of several of her texts included there.

This text appears at the time of German pietism, similar in spirit in many regards to the Wesleyan revival in England of the same era. Philipp Jacob Spener led the German pietistic movement. Though not a hymn writer himself, he inspired a revival in German hymnody characterized by faithfulness to Scripture, personal experience, and deep emotional expression. Katharina von Schlegel is thought to be the leading female hymn writer of this period.

Darker than the colorless beards of old men,. Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths. O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues,. And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing. I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,. And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps. What do you think has become of the young and old men?

And what do you think has become of the women and children? The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,. And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,. And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier. I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it. And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and every one good,. The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good. I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,. I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself,.

They do not know how immortal, but I know. Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and female,. For me those that have been boys and that love women,. For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,. For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the mothers of mothers,. For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,. For me children and the begetters of children.

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I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no,. And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away. I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand. The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,. The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom,. I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol has fallen. The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders,. The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,.

The snow-sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-balls,. The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall,. The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd,. The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes,. What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and give birth to babes,.

Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances, rejections with convex lips,. I mind them or the show or resonance of them—I come and I depart. The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,. The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the slow-drawn wagon,.

The clear light plays on the brown gray and green intertinged,. I felt its soft jolts, one leg reclined on the other,. I jump from the cross-beams and seize the clover and timothy,. And roll head over heels and tangle my hair full of wisps. Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,. Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,. In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the night,. The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle and scud,.

Song of the King: Psalms 21​-​30

My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from the deck. The boatmen and clam-diggers arose early and stopt for me,. You should have been with us that day round the chowder-kettle. I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west, the bride was a red girl,. Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking, they had moccasins to their feet and large thick blankets hanging from their shoulders,. On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins, his luxuriant beard and curls protected his neck, he held his bride by the hand,.

The runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside,. I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,. Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak,. And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured him,. And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,.

And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;. Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;. Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome. She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,. She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window. Which of the young men does she like the best? Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her. You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room. Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather,.

The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them. It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs. The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,. They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending arch,.

They do not think whom they souse with spray. The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his knife at the stall in the market,. I loiter enjoying his repartee and his shuffle and break-down. Blacksmiths with grimed and hairy chests environ the anvil,. Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in the fire. The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their massive arms,.

Overhand the hammers swing, overhand so slow, overhand so sure,. They do not hasten, each man hits in his place. The negro holds firmly the reins of his four horses, the block swags underneath on its tied-over chain,. His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over his hip-band,. His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat away from his forehead,.

I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not stop there,. In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as forward sluing,. To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object missing,. Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes?

It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life. My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and day-long ramble,. They rise together, they slowly circle around. And acknowledge red, yellow, white, playing within me,. And consider green and violet and the tufted crown intentional,. And do not call the tortoise unworthy because she is not something else,. And the jay in the woods never studied the gamut, yet trills pretty well to me,. And the look of the bay mare shames silliness out of me. The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,. Ya-honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,.

The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listening close,. Find its purpose and place up there toward the wintry sky. The litter of the grunting sow as they tug at her teats,. The brood of the turkey-hen and she with her half-spread wings,. The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections,. They scorn the best I can do to relate them. Of men that live among cattle or taste of the ocean or woods,. Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and mauls, and the drivers of horses,.

I can eat and sleep with them week in and week out. What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me,. Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns,. Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me,. Not asking the sky to come down to my good will,. The pure contralto sings in the organ loft,. The carpenter dresses his plank, the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp,. The married and unmarried children ride home to their Thanksgiving dinner,.

The pilot seizes the king-pin, he heaves down with a strong arm,. The mate stands braced in the whale-boat, lance and harpoon are ready,. The duck-shooter walks by silent and cautious stretches,. The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel,. The farmer stops by the bars as he walks on a First-day loafe and looks at the oats and rye,. The jour printer with gray head and gaunt jaws works at his case,. He turns his quid of tobacco while his eyes blurr with the manuscript;.

The quadroon girl is sold at the auction-stand, the drunkard nods by the bar-room stove,. The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gate-keeper marks who pass,. The young fellow drives the express-wagon, I love him, though I do not know him;. The half-breed straps on his light boots to compete in the race,. The western turkey-shooting draws old and young, some lean on their rifles, some sit on logs,. Out from the crowd steps the marksman, takes his position, levels his piece;.

The groups of newly-come immigrants cover the wharf or levee,. As the woolly-pates hoe in the sugar-field, the overseer views them from his saddle,. The bugle calls in the ball-room, the gentlemen run for their partners, the dancers bow to each other,. The Wolverine sets traps on the creek that helps fill the Huron,. The connoisseur peers along the exhibition-gallery with half-shut eyes bent sideways,.

As the deck-hands make fast the steamboat the plank is thrown for the shore-going passengers,. The young sister holds out the skein while the elder sister winds it off in a ball, and stops now and then for the knots,. The one-year wife is recovering and happy having a week ago borne her first child,. The canal boy trots on the tow-path, the book-keeper counts at his desk, the shoemaker waxes his thread,. The conductor beats time for the band and all the performers follow him,. The child is baptized, the convert is making his first professions,.

The regatta is spread on the bay, the race is begun, how the white sails sparkle! The drover watching his drove sings out to them that would stray,. The pedler sweats with his pack on his back, the purchaser higgling about the odd cent;. The bride unrumples her white dress, the minute-hand of the clock moves slowly,.


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The prostitute draggles her shawl, her bonnet bobs on her tipsy and pimpled neck,. The crowd laugh at her blackguard oaths, the men jeer and wink to each other,. I do not laugh at your oaths nor jeer you;. The President holding a cabinet council is surrounded by the great Secretaries,. On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with twined arms,. The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold,. The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his cattle,.


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As the fare-collector goes through the train he gives notice by the jingling of loose change,. The floor-men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the roof, the masons are calling for mortar,. In single file each shouldering his hod pass onward the laborers;. Seasons pursuing each other the plougher ploughs, the mower mows, and the winter-grain falls in the ground;. Off on the lakes the pike-fisher watches and waits by the hole in the frozen surface,.

The stumps stand thick round the clearing, the squatter strikes deep with his axe,. Flatboatmen make fast towards dusk near the cotton-wood or pecan-trees,. Torches shine in the dark that hangs on the Chattahooche or Altamahaw,. Patriarchs sit at supper with sons and grandsons and great-grandsons around them,. The living sleep for their time, the dead sleep for their time,.

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The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife;. And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,. And such as it is to be of these more or less I am,. And of these one and all I weave the song of myself. I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,. Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,.

Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,. One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same,. A Southerner soon as a Northerner, a planter nonchalant and hospitable down by the Oconee I live,. A Yankee bound my own way ready for trade, my joints the limberest joints on earth and the sternest joints on earth,. A Kentuckian walking the vale of the Elkhorn in my deer-skin leggings, a Louisianian or Georgian,.

A boatman over lakes or bays or along coasts, a Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye;. At home on Kanadian snow-shoes or up in the bush, or with fishermen off Newfoundland,. At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest and tacking,. At home on the hills of Vermont or in the woods of Maine, or the Texan ranch,. Comrade of Californians, comrade of free North-Westerners, loving their big proportions,.

Comrade of raftsmen and coalmen, comrade of all who shake hands and welcome to drink and meat,. A learner with the simplest, a teacher of the thoughtfullest,. A novice beginning yet experient of myriads of seasons,. Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and religion,. A farmer, mechanic, artist, gentleman, sailor, quaker,. Prisoner, fancy-man, rowdy, lawyer, physician, priest. I resist any thing better than my own diversity,. The moth and the fish-eggs are in their place,. The bright suns I see and the dark suns I cannot see are in their place,.

The palpable is in its place and the impalpable is in its place. These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me,. If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,. If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing,.

If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing. This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,. With music strong I come, with my cornets and my drums,. Have you heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won. I blow through my embouchures my loudest and gayest for them. And to those whose war-vessels sank in the sea! And to those themselves who sank in the sea! And to all generals that lost engagements, and all overcome heroes!

And the numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest heroes known! This is the meal equally set, this the meat for natural hunger,. It is for the wicked just the same as the righteous, I make appointments with all,. I will not have a single person slighted or left away,. The kept-woman, sponger, thief, are hereby invited,. There shall be no difference between them and the rest. This is the press of a bashful hand, this the float and odor of hair,. This the touch of my lips to yours, this the murmur of yearning,. This the far-off depth and height reflecting my own face,.

This the thoughtful merge of myself, and the outlet again. Do you guess I have some intricate purpose? Well I have, for the Fourth-month showers have, and the mica on the side of a rock has. Does the daylight astonish? I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you. Who goes there? How is it I extract strength from the beef I eat? What is a man anyhow? All I mark as my own you shall offset it with your own,. I do not snivel that snivel the world over,. That months are vacuums and the ground but wallow and filth. Why should I pray? I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.

In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,. And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them. To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow,. All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means. I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood,. I see that the elementary laws never apologize,. I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by, after all.

If no other in the world be aware I sit content,.

There’s Music in My Soul

And if each and all be aware I sit content. One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is myself,. And whether I come to my own to-day or in ten thousand or ten million years,. I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can wait. I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,. The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,. The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.

I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,. And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,.

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And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men. We have had ducking and deprecating about enough,. Have you outstript the rest? It is a trifle, they will more than arrive there every one, and still pass on. I am he that walks with the tender and growing night,. I call to the earth and sea half-held by the night. Night of south winds—night of the large few stars! Still nodding night—mad naked summer night.

Earth of departed sunset—earth of the mountains misty-topt! Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue! Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river! Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake! Prodigal, you have given me love—therefore I to you give love! You sea!

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I resign myself to you also—I guess what you mean,. I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,. I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me,. We must have a turn together, I undress, hurry me out of sight of the land,. Cushion me soft, rock me in billowy drowse,. Sea breathing broad and convulsive breaths,.

Howler and scooper of storms, capricious and dainty sea,. I am integral with you, I too am of one phase and of all phases. Partaker of influx and efflux I, extoller of hate and conciliation,. Shall I make my list of things in the house and skip the house that supports them? I am not the poet of goodness only, I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also. What blurt is this about virtue and about vice? Evil propels me and reform of evil propels me, I stand indifferent,.

Did you fear some scrofula out of the unflagging pregnancy? I find one side a balance and the antipodal side a balance,. Soft doctrine as steady help as stable doctrine,. Thoughts and deeds of the present our rouse and early start. This minute that comes to me over the past decillions,. What behaved well in the past or behaves well to-day is not such a wonder,. The wonder is always and always how there can be a mean man or an infidel. And mine a word of the modern, the word En-Masse.

Here or henceforward it is all the same to me, I accept Time absolutely. It alone is without flaw, it alone rounds and completes all,. That mystic baffling wonder alone completes all. Hurrah for positive science! Fetch stonecrop mixt with cedar and branches of lilac,. This is the lexicographer, this the chemist, this made a grammar of the old cartouches,. These mariners put the ship through dangerous unknown seas. This is the geologist, this works with the scalpel, and this is a mathematician. Your facts are useful, and yet they are not my dwelling,.

I but enter by them to an area of my dwelling. Less the reminders of properties told my words,. And more the reminders they of life untold, and of freedom and extrication,. And make short account of neuters and geldings, and favor men and women fully equipt,. And beat the gong of revolt, and stop with fugitives and them that plot and conspire.

Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son,. Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding,. No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them,. Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs! And whatever is done or said returns at last to me. Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the current and index. I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy,.

By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms. Voices of the interminable generations of prisoners and slaves,. Voices of cycles of preparation and accretion,. And of the threads that connect the stars, and of wombs and of the father-stuff,. And of the rights of them the others are down upon,. Fog in the air, beetles rolling balls of dung. I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart,. Copulation is no more rank to me than death is. Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer,.

This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds. If I worship one thing more than another it shall be the spread of my own body, or any part of it,. Whatever goes to the tilth of me it shall be you! You my rich blood! Breast that presses against other breasts it shall be you! My brain it shall be your occult convolutions! Trickling sap of maple, fibre of manly wheat, it shall be you! Vapors lighting and shading my face it shall be you!

You sweaty brooks and dews it shall be you! Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you! Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in my winding paths, it shall be you!


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I dote on myself, there is that lot of me and all so luscious,. Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy,. I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish,. Nor the cause of the friendship I emit, nor the cause of the friendship I take again. That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be,. A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. The little light fades the immense and diaphanous shadows,. Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols silently rising freshly exuding,.

Something I cannot see puts upward libidinous prongs,. The earth by the sky staid with, the daily close of their junction,. The mocking taunt, See then whether you shall be master! Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sun-rise would kill me,. If I could not now and always send sun-rise out of me. We also ascend dazzling and tremendous as the sun,. We found our own O my soul in the calm and cool of the daybreak. My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach,. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

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