Walt Whitman Essay

Submitted By boba33415
Words: 806
Pages: 4

Leaves of grass is a poetry collection that Walt Whitman spent his whole life writing. Whitman came to feel that the strength of the republic lay not in its leaders but in its hardworking, patriotic citizens. Always carrying a little notebook, he observed those citizens, jotting impressions of everyday scenes. From those pieces he created twelve unnamed poems, which he self-published in 1855 under the title Leaves of Grass. This book is notable for its discussion of delight in sensual pleasures during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral. Despite declining health, he continued to travel, lecture on Abraham Lincoln, add, revise, rearrange and republish Leaves of Grass. Whitman has 8 revised versions, The Deathbed Edition being his final.
Oh Captain! My Captain was known as one of the greatest poems written at the time of the Civil War. It’s a mourning poem that was written in the memory of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. Whitman admired Lincoln immensely because of his political standpoint of universal equality as stated in the constitution. This poem shows how much Whitman admired Lincoln.
Final Illness and Death
Whitman seemed to endure his final months through sheer force of will. He was in fact very sick, troubled by a range of illnesses. For some time, he had been making preparations for the end. He had a large tomb built in Camden's Harley Cemetery, on a plot given to him in 1885, shortly after the cemetery was opened. Eventually, several family members were reinterred in the same tomb, but the inscription still reads "Walt Whitman.” On December 24, 1891, Whitman composed his last will and testament.
Whitman was nursed in his final illness by Frederick Warren Fritzinger also known as Warry, a former sailor. Whitman liked Warry's touch, which blended masculine strength and feminine tenderness. Whitman finally died on March 26, 1892 at the age of 72. The cause of death was tuberculosis, with other contributing factors. The autopsy done by Daniel Longaker, Whitman’s physician in the final year, revealed that one lung had completely collapsed and the other was working only at one-eighth capacity. That just goes to prove how he survived his final months through sheer force of will.

O Captain! My Captain!
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.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! Dear father!
This arm beneath your