What is humanity in its faith, love, heroism, poetry, even morals, but emotion?
Our feelings are the creatures of association and education.
Take now the enclosing theme of all, no other theme but love,
No other words but words of love, no other thought but love,
Underneath all is the expression of love for men and women,
Now I dare sing no other songs, only those of lovers.
Away with love choked, correct, polite, diluted, deferential love,
As in songs, fictions, and so forth—love-verses sugar’d in rhyme,
The unhealthy pleasures, intrigues, amours of idlers,
The received models of the parlors, beneath the dazzling chandeliers.
What are they to me? what to these young men that travel with me?
This tepid wash is enough to make a man vomit.
I swear I have seen enough of mean and impotent modes of expressing love for men and women,
After this day I take my own modes of expressing love for men and women,
For who but I should understand love with all its sorrow and joy—
Prophetic joy of better, loftier love’s ideals.
I know that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love;
Doubtless I could not have perceived the universe if I had not freely given myself to comrades, to love.
Prais’d be the fathomless universe,
For the fresh lusciousness of love, sweet love,
The heart of man and woman all for love—
Love, that is pulse of all, ever the sobbing liquid of life,
Love, the sustenance and the pang, the solvent and the setting,
Knitting, enclosing, all-diffusing love, divergent and vast as the space that lies beyond,
Love like the light silently wrapping all, the flames that heat the world, blessing all,
Love, that is all the earth to lovers—love, that mocks time and space,
Love, that is day and night—love, that is sun and moon and stars,
Love, that is crimson, sumptuous, sick with perfume—
The box-lid is but perceptibly open’d, nevertheless the perfume pours copiously out of the whole box—
Not the perfume of flowers, but sweeter, and wafted beyond death.
A word I give to remain in your memories and minds,
As base and finalè too for all metaphysics.
Underneath Socrates clearly I see, and underneath Christ the divine I see,
The dear love of man for his comrade, the attraction of friend to friend,
Of the well-married husband and wife, of children and parents.
The sisters sleep lovingly side by side in their bed,
The men sleep lovingly side by side in theirs,
The father holds his grown or ungrown son in his arms with measureless love, and the son holds the father in his arms with measureless love,
(Would the son separate himself from the father?)
Those who love each other shall become invincible,
And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other,
And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific,
And until one and all shall delight us, and we them.
Such boundless and affluent souls are met through all the strata of life,
Their centrifugal power of love, I think, makes the awfulest forces of nature stand back.
Immeasurable love, the cause of causes, is the great law whence spring the lesser laws we call nature’s.
Out of the vast first nothing,
The ebbless and floodless vapor from the nostrils of death,
It asked of God, with undeniable will,
Something to satisfy its immortal longings—
By it then chaos was staid with,
And duly came from them a brood of beautiful children,
Whom we call the laws of nature.
We know that love is the law over all laws, because in nothing else but love is the soul conscious of pure happiness.
O my breast aches with tender love for all!
I am rapt with love for all,
Wending my way through the homes of men, rich or poor, with the kiss of affection,
For I am affection, my charity has no death.
I tell you I love all,
And my sweet love bequeath’d here and elsewhere never dies,
Give me exhaustless, make me a fountain,
That I exhale love from me wherever I go like a moist perennial dew.
Do you hold the like love? for those hardening to maturity? for the last-born? little and big? and for the errant?
Love-buds put before you and within you whoever you are,
Those beginning notes of yearning and love,
They are comprised in you just as much as in themselves—perhaps more than in themselves.
They have come slowly up out of the earth and me, and are to come slowly up out of you,
Buds to be unfolded on the old terms—
If you bring the warmth of the sun to them they will open and bring form, color, perfume, to you,
If you become the aliment and the wet they will become flowers, fruits, tall branches, and trees,
Every breath through your mouth shall be of a new perfumed and elastic air,
Which is love.