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American poet
(1819 - 1892)
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The whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one single individual.
      - [Universe]

To have great poets there must be great audiences too.
      - [Poets]

Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.
      - [Truth]

O captain! my captain! our fearful trip is done;
  The ship has weather'd every rack; the prize we sought is won;
    The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
      While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring?
        But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red,
          Where on the deck my captain lies, fallen cold and dead.
      - Captain! My Captain! [Lincoln, Abraham]

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage is closed and done.
  From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won.
    Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells; but I with mournful tread
      Walk the deck my captain lies, fallen cold and dead.
      - Captain! My Captain! [Lincoln, Abraham]

Oh, a strange hand writes for our dear son--O, stricken mother's soul!
  All swims before her eyes--flashes with black--she catches the main words only;
    Sentences broken--gun-shot wound in the breast, cavalry skirmish, taken to hospital;
      At present low, but will soon be better.
      - Drum-Tape--Come up from the Fields, Father

Thunder on! Stride on! Democracy. Strike with vengeful strokes.
      - Drum-Taps--Rise O Days From Your Fathomless Deep
         (no. 3) [Democracy]

Long and long has the grass been growing,
  Long and long has the rain been falling,
    Long has the globe been rolling round.
      - Exposition (I) [Life]

Joy, shipmate, joy
  (Pleas'd to my soul at death I cry,)
    Our life is closed, our life begins,
      The long, long anchorage we leave,
        The ship is clear at last, she leaps!
          Joy, shipmate, joy!
      - Joy, Shipmate, Joy [Death]

Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.
      - Leaves of Grass [Spring]

The carpenter dresses his plank--the tongue of his fore-plane whistles its wild ascending lisp.
      - Leaves of Grass (pt. XV, st. 77)

Behold, I do not give lectures or a little charity,
  When I give I give myself.
      - Leaves of Grass--Song of Myself (40)

Where the katydid works her chromatic reed on the walnut-tree over the well.
      - Leaves of Grass--Song of Myself
         (pt. 33, l. 61) [Katydids]

Nothing endures but personal qualities.
      - Leaves of Grass--Song of the Broad-Axe
         (st. 4) [Quality]

The jour printer with gray head and gaunt jaws works at his case,
  He turns his quid of tobacco, while his eyes blur with the manuscript.
      - Leaves of Grass--Walt Whitman
         (pt. XV, st. 77) [Printing]

This dust was once the man,
  Gentle, plain, just and resolute, under whose cautious hand,
    Against the foulest crime in history known in any land or age,
      Was saves the Union of these States.
      - Memories of President Lincoln--This Dust Was Once the Man
        [Lincoln, Abraham]

O, I see that life cannot exhibit all to me, as day cannot,
  I see that I am to wait for what will be exhibited by death.
      - Night on the Prairies [Death]

Of the terrible doubt of appearances,
  Of the uncertainty after all, that we may-be deluded,
    That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,
      That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable only.
        May-be the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills, shining and flowing waters,
          The skies of day and night, colors, densities, forms, may-be these are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions, and the real something has yet to be known.
      - Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances

Roaming in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is
  Good steadily hastening towards immortality,
    And the vast all that is called Evil I saw hastening to merge itself and become lost and dead.
      - Roaming in Thought, after reading Hegel

Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
  Out of the mocking bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
    . . . .
      A reminiscence sing.
      - Sea-Drift [Memory]

Lo! body and soul!--this land!
  Mighty Manhattan, with spires, and
    The sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships;
      The varied and ample land,--the South
        And the North in the light--Ohio's shores, and flashing Missouri,
          And ever the far-spreading prairies, covered with grass and corn.
      - Sequel to Drum-Taps--When Lilacs Last in the Door-Yard Bloom'd
         (st. 12) [New York]

O loafe and invite my soul,
  I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass.
      - Song of Myself [Soul]

I am an acme of thing accomplished, and I am encloser of things to be.
      - Song of Myself (44) [Man]

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
  And what I assume you shall assume,
    For every atom belonging to me as good as belongs to you.
      - Song of Myself (I) [Character]

The crowded line of masons with trowels in their right hands, rapidly laying the long sidewall,
  The flexible rise and fall of backs, the continual click of the trowels striking the bricks,
    The bricks, one after another, each laid so workmanlike in its place, and set with a knock of the trowel-handle.
      - Song of the Broad-Axe (pt. III, st. 4)

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