Can you hold your hand against all seductions, follies, whirls, fierce contentions? are you very strong? are you really of the whole People?
A Child’s Amaze Silent and amazed even when a little boy, I remember I heard the preacher every Sunday put God in his statements, As contending against some being or influence.
4 Piety and conformity to them that like, Peace, obesity, allegiance, to them that like, I am he who tauntingly compels men, women, nations, Crying, Leap from your seats and contend for your lives!
Adieu to a Soldier Adieu O soldier, You of the rude campaigning, (which we shared,) The rapid march, the life of the camp, The hot contention of opposing fronts, the long manoeuvre, Red battles with their slaughter, the stimulus, the strong terrific game, Spell of all brave and manly hearts, the trains of time through you and like of you all fill’d, With war and war’s expression.
While Not the Past Forgetting While not the past forgetting, To-day, at least, contention sunk entire—peace, brotherhood uprisen; For sign reciprocal our Northern, Southern hands, Lay on the graves of all dead soldiers, North or South, (Nor for the past alone—for meanings to the future,) Wreaths of roses and branches of palm.
Death of General Grant As one by one withdraw the lofty actors, From that great play on history’s stage eterne, That lurid, partial act of war and peace—of old and new contending, Fought out through wrath, fears, dark dismays, and many a long suspense; All past—and since, in countless graves receding, mellowing, Victor’s and vanquish’d—Lincoln’s and Lee’s—now thou with them, Man of the mighty days—and equal to the days!
FANCIES AT NAVESINK [I] The Pilot in the Mist Steaming the northern rapids—(an old St. Lawrence reminiscence, A sudden memory-flash comes back, I know not why, Here waiting for the sunrise, gazing from this hill;) Again ’tis just at morning—a heavy haze contends with daybreak, Again the trembling, laboring vessel veers me—I press through foam-dash’d rocks that almost touch me, Again I mark where aft the small thin Indian helmsman Looms in the mist, with brow elate and governing hand.
…the tops of immense waves, A transparent base shuddering lusciously under and through the universe, The triumphant tutti, the funeral wailings with sweet flutes and violins, all these I fill myself with, I hear not the volumes of sound merely, I am moved by the exquisite meanings, I listen to the different voices winding in and out, striving, contending with fiery vehemence to excel each other in emotion; I do not think the performers know themselves—but now I think begin to know them.