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Leaves of Grass
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Leaves of Grass
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  • I hear the chorus, it is a grand opera, Ah this indeed is music—this suits me.
  • Give me to hold all sounds, (I madly struggling cry,) Fill me with all the voices of the universe, Endow me with their throbbings, Nature’s also, The tempests, waters, winds, operas and chants, marches and dances, Utter, pour in, for I would take them all!
  • …of the Organ I heard you solemn-sweet pipes of the organ as last Sunday morn I pass’d the church, Winds of autumn, as I walk’d the woods at dusk I heard your longstretch’d sighs up above so mournful, I heard the perfect Italian tenor singing at the opera, I heard the soprano in the midst of the quartet singing; Heart of my love! you too I heard murmuring low through one of the wrists around my head, Heard the pulse of you when all was still ringing little bells last night under my ear.
  • …and cornets’ notes, Electric, pensive, turbulent, artificial, (Yet strangely fitting even here, meanings unknown before, Subtler than ever, more harmony, as if born here, related here, Not to the city’s fresco’d rooms, not to the audience of the opera house, Sounds, echoes, wandering strains, as really here at home, Sonnambula’s innocent love, trios with Norma’s anguish, And thy ecstatic chorus Poliuto;) Ray’d in the limpid yellow slanting sundown, Music, Italian music in Dakota.
  • ) How you sprang—how you threw off the costumes of peace with indifferent hand, How your soft opera-music changed, and the drum and fife were heard in their stead, How you led to the war, (that shall serve for our prelude, songs of soldiers,) How Manhattan drum-taps led.
  • ) 4 I hear those odes, symphonies, operas, I hear in the William Tell the music of an arous’d and angry people, I hear Meyerbeer’s Huguenots, the Prophet, or Robert, Gounod’s Faust, or Mozart’s Don Juan.
  • ) He masters whose spirit masters, he tastes sweetest who results sweetest in the long run, The blood of the brawn beloved of time is unconstraint; In the need of songs, philosophy, an appropriate native grand-opera, shipcraft, any craft, He or she is greatest who contributes the greatest original practical example.
  • ) Thee in an education grown of thee, in teachers, studies, students, born of thee, Thee in thy democratic fetes en-masse, thy high original festivals, operas, lecturers, preachers, Thee in thy ultimate, (the preparations only now completed, the edifice on sure foundations tied,) Thee in thy pinnacles, intellect, thought, thy topmost rational joys, thy love and godlike aspiration, In thy resplendent coming literati, thy full-lung’d orators, thy sacerdotal bards, kosmic savans, These!…

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  • She is a popular opera singer.
  • We’re going to the opera this evening.

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