In this broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed perfection;
By every life a share or more or less,
None born but it is born, conceal’d or unconceal’d the seed is waiting.
Over the mountain-growths disease and sorrow,
An uncaught bird is ever hovering, hovering,
High in the purer, happier air—
From imperfection’s murkiest cloud,
Darts always forth one ray of perfect light.
O the blest eyes, the happy hearts,
That see, that know the guiding thread so fine,
Along the mighty labyrinth.
O, nature! perfect in imperfection, I praise with electric voice,
How perfect the earth, and the minutest thing upon it.
The earth is not half beautiful only, defects and excrescences show just as much as perfections show—
Is not the earth free, wicked, terrible,
Full of alkaline plains, barren, colorless, sage-deserts?
Think you the fertile oases only are beautiful and mean something?
Illustrious the mystery of motion in all beings, even the tiniest insect,
Illustrious whatever I see or hear or touch, to the last,
Illustrious every one!
The vegetables and minerals are all perfect,
And the imponderable fluids are perfect.
Eyes of my soul seeing perfection,
Natural life of me faithfully praising things,
Corroborating forever the triumph of things.
Manifold objects, no two alike and every one good,
Through you color, form, location, sublimity, ideality,
Through you every proof, comparison, and all the suggestions and determinations of ourselves.
Every object has its lesson, enclosing the suggestion of everything else—
I do not doubt there is far more in trivialities, insects, weeds, rejected refuse, than I have supposed.
Keep your places, objects than which none else is more lasting,
You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beautiful ministers,
We receive you with free sense at last, and are insatiate henceforward,
We descend upon you and all things, we arrest you all,
We use you, and do not cast you aside—we plant you permanently within us,
We fathom you not—we love you—there is perfection in you also,
Great or small, you furnish your parts toward eternity.
Births have brought us richness and variety,
And other births will bring us richness and variety.
No one thing in the universe is inferior to another thing,
I do not call one greater and one smaller,
That which fills its period and place is equal to any.
The law of perfection is to each for itself and onward from itself, is profuse and impartial,
There is not a minute of the light or dark nor an acre of the earth and sea without it—nor any direction of the sky nor any turn of events.
The universe is duly in order, everything is in its 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,
What has arrived is in its place and what waits shall be in its place.
The far advanced are to go on in their turns,
And the far behind are to come on in their turns.
There is in the make-up of every superior human identity a wondrous intuition of the absolute balance, in time and space, of the whole of this multifarious, mad chaos of fraud, frivolity, hoggishness—this revel of fools, and incredible make-believe and general unsettledness, we call the world—
I find one side a balance and the antipodal side a balance.
Observe the goal and apex of all education deserving the name—the lesson of nature, ever checking the excess of one law by an opposite, or seemingly opposite, law, generally the other side of the same law,
The counterpart and offset whereby nature restrains the deadly original relentlessness of all her first-class laws.
Behold the eternal fitness and equanimity of things,
The great rondure, the cohesion of all,
(What can the future bring me more, or less, than I have?)
Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death,
It is form, union, plan—it is eternal life—it is happiness,
A vast, clear scheme, each learner learning it for himself.
The heart of man alone is the one unbalanced and restless thing in the world,
But for all that, nigh, at hand, see, a wonder beyond any of them,
Namely, oneself, the darkest labyrinth, mightiest wonder.