Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovel'd here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken'd and dazed ourselves with books long enough?
Sail forth -- steer for the deep waters only,
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me,
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.
O my brave soul!
O farther farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!
~Walt Whitman, 1819-1892
(from "Passage To India", 1868)
This wonderful, witty text by Walt Whitman strikes a personal note for me. Immediately prior to composing a choral setting to this text, my son Paul graduated from college along his roomate and best friend from childhood. These clever lyrics, excerpted from an epic poem by Whitman, seem uniquely apropos for these graduates. After "paying their dues" in academia, it was time to move on to new vistas and exciting challenges!
The music begins "With Wit" and humor, then abruptly transforms into brave hope and boundless optimism! The message is exciting and the music is cleverly designed to enhance Whitman's words. The opening gives the impression of a "circular rut", a merry-go-'round. The music suddenly changes to a vigorous sense of abandon, then briefly returns to the sound of the calliope!
To listen in, visit Gladde Music.