Nonfiction > Walt Whitman > Prose Works > I. Specimen Days > 243. The Great Unrest of Which We Are Part
Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Prose Works. 1892.
I. Specimen Days
243. The Great Unrest of Which We Are Part
MY thoughts went floating on vast and mystic currents as I sat to-day in solitude and half-shade by the creek—returning mainly to two principal centres. One of my cherish’d themes for a never-achiev’d poem has been the two impetuses of man and the universe—in the latter, creation’s incessant unrest, 1 exfoliation, (Darwin’s evolution, I suppose.) Indeed, what is Nature but change, in all its visible, and still more its invisible processes? Or what is humanity in its faith, love, heroism, poetry, even morals, but emotion?   1

Note 1.  “Fifty thousand years ago the constellation of the Great Bear or Dipper was a starry cross; a hundred thousand years hence the imaginary Dipper will be upside down, and the stars which form the bowl and handle will have changed places. The misty nebulæ are moving, and besides are whirling around in great spirals, some one way, some another. Every molecule of matter in the whole universe is swinging to and fro; every particle of ether which fills space is in jelly-like vibration. Light is one kind of motion, heat another, electricity another, magnetism another, sound another. Every human sense is the result of motion; every perception, every thought is but motion of the molecules of the brain translated by that incomprehensible thing we call mind. The processes of growth, of existence, of decay, whether in worlds, or in the minutest organisms, are but motion.” [back]


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