Walt Whitman: Book XXXI, Part 3

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Part 3

Brain of the New World, what a task is thine,
To formulate the Modern?out of the peerless grandeur of the modern,
Out of thyself, comprising science, to recast poems, churches, art,
(Recast, may-be discard them, end them?maybe their work is done,
who knows?)
By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past, the dead,
To limn with absolute faith the mighty living present.
And yet thou living present brain, heir of the dead, the Old World brain,
Thou that lay folded like an unborn babe within its folds so long,
Thou carefully prepared by it so long?haply thou but unfoldest it,
only maturest it,
It to eventuate in thee?the essence of the by-gone time contain'd in thee,
Its poems, churches, arts, unwitting to themselves, destined with
reference to thee;
Thou but the apples, long, long, long a-growing,
The fruit of all the Old ripening to-day in thee.