photo of Walt WhitmanPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Walt Whitman. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Walt Whitman

Walter Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sensuality. Whitman's own life came under scrutiny for his presumed homosexuality.

Born in Huntington on Long Island, as a child and through much of his career he resided in Brooklyn. At age 11, he left formal schooling to go to work. Later, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, and a government clerk. Whitman's major poetry collection, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money and became well known. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892.

During the American Civil War, he went to Washington, D.C. and worked in hospitals caring for the wounded. His poetry often focused on both loss and healing. On the death of Abraham Lincoln, whom Whitman greatly admired, he wrote his well known poems, "O Captain! My Captain!" and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd", and gave a series of lectures. After a stroke towards the end of his life, Whitman moved to Camden, New Jersey, where his health further declined. When he died at age 72, his funeral was a public event.

Whitman's influence on poetry remains strong. Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe argued: "You cannot really understand America without Walt Whitman, without Leaves of Grass ... He has expressed that civilization, 'up to date,' as he would say, and no student of the philosophy of history can do without him." Modernist poet Ezra Pound called Whitman "America's poet ... He is America."

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Happiness, not in another place but this place, not for another hour, but this hour.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters is simplicity.

--Walt Whitman


photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Seeing, hearing and feeling are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Women sit or move to and fro, some are old, some young. The young are beautiful -- but the old are more beautiful than the young.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Women sit, or move to and fro -- some old, some young; The young are beautiful -- but the old are more beautiful than the young.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

A morning glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

City of orgies, walks and joys! City whom that I have lived and sung in your midst will one day make you illustrious,.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

With perfect health, there are no low spirits and cannot be.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

O from his masterful sweep, the warning cry of the eagle!

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

The most affluent man is he that confronts all the shows he sees by equivalents out of the stronger wealth of himself.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Agonies are one of my changes of garments;
I do not ask the wounded person how he feels ... I myself become the wounded person,
My hurt turns livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

How beggarly appear arguments before a defiant deed!

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Storming, enjoying, planning, loving, cautioning, Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing, I tread day and night such roads.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Many a good man I have seen go under.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

O the joy of my spirit -- it is uncaged -- it darts like lightning! It is not enough to have this globe or a certain time, I will have thousands of globes and all time.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Whoever degrades another degrades me.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Come lovely and soothing death, Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving, In the day, in the night, to all, to each, Sooner or later, delicate death.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I know perfectly well my own egotism,
And know my omnivorous words, and cannot say any less,
And would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Thought Of equality- as if it harm'd me, giving others the same chances and rights as myself- as if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I think of few heroic actions, which cannot be traced to the artistical impulse. He who does great deeds, does them from his innate sensitiveness to moral beauty.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Do you guess I have some intricate purpose? Well I have, for the Fourth-month showers have, and the mica on the side of a rock has.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Mark the spirit of invention everywhere, thy rapid patents, Thy continual workshops, foundries, risen or rising, See, from their chimneys how the tall flame-fires stream.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Each of us inevitable; Each of us limitless-each of us with his or her right upon the earth.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

The known universe has one complete lover and that is the greatest poet.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

What beauty there is in words; what a lurking curious charm in the sound some words.

--Walt Whitman



photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I act as the tongue of you,
... tied in your mouth ... in mine it begins to be loosened.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

The chief trait of any given poet is always the spirit he brings to the observation of Humanity and Nature--the mood out of which he contemplates his subjects.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

And as to you Corpse I think you are good manure, but that does not offend me,
I smell the white roses sweet-scented and growing,
I reach to the leafy lips, I reach to the polish'd breasts of melons.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

My little notebooks were beginnings -- they were the ground into which I dropped the seed... I would work in this way when I was out in the crowds, then put the stuff together at home.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.

--Walt Whitman


photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete,

The earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

There can be no theory of any account unless it corroborate with the theory of the earth.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I am given up by traitors;
I talk wildly ... I have lost my wits ... I and nobody else am the greatest traitor,
I went myself first to the headland ... my own hands carried me there.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I meet new Walt Whitmans everyday. There are a dozen of them afloat. I don't know which Walt Whitman I am.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

For America, if eligible at all to downfall and ruin, is eligible within herself, not without;.

--Walt Whitman


photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Strangle the singers who will not sing you loud and strong.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Logic and sermons never convince, The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Camden was originally an accident, but I shall never be sorry I was left over in Camden. It has brought me blessed returns.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Now, dearest comrade, lift me to your face,
We must separate awhile
Here! take from my lips this kiss.
Whoever you are, I give it especially to you;
So long! And I hope we shall meet again.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory ever to keep for the dead I loved so well.

--Walt Whitman


photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I do not seek good fortune -- I am good fortune!

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

People who serve you without love get even behind your back.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

So here I sit in the early candle-light of old age-I and my book-casting backward glances over out travel'd road.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Of all mankind the great poet is the equable man. Not in him but off from him things are grotesque or eccentric or fail of their sanity.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

A man is a great thing upon the earth and through eternity; but every jot of the greatness of man is unfolded out of woman.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

All architecture is what you do to it when you look upon it.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Has any one supposed it lucky to be born? I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

The new rule shall rule as the soul rules, and as the love and justice and equality that are in the soul rule.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Somehow I have been stunned. Stand back!
Give me a little time beyond my cuffed head and slumbers
and dreams and gaping,
I discover myself on the verge of the usual mistake.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Shut not your doors to me proud libraries.

--Walt Whitman

photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Unscrew the locks from the doors ! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs !

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I wear my hat as I please, indoors or out.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

There was a child went forth every day, And the first object he looked upon, that object he became.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Comerado, this is no book,Who touches this, touches a man,(Is it night? Are we here alone?)It is I you hold, and who holds you,I spring from the pages into your arms-decease calls me forth.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I will write the evangel-poem of comrades and of love.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage, must in time be utterly lost.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Has anyone supposed it lucky to be born? I hasten to inform him or her that it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

O amazement of things-even the least particle!

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Clear and sweet is my soul, clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Are you the new person drawn toward me?

--Walt Whitman

Longer Version:

Are you the new person drawn toward me? To begin with, take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose.


photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash'd babe, and am not contained between my hat and my boots.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I know I am deathless We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers, There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

If you want me again look for me under your boot soles.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Wisdom is not finally tested by the schools, Wisdom cannot be pass'd from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof.

--Walt Whitman

Longer Version:

Wisdom is not finally tested in schools, Wisdom cannot be pass'd from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof, Applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content, Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things; Something there is in the float of the sight of things that provokes it out of the soul.


photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

I am satisfied ... I see, dance, laugh, sing.

--Walt Whitman
photo of author Walt Whitman with quote

Why are there men and women that while they are nigh me the sunlight expands my blood? Why when they leave me do my pennants of joy sink flat and lank?

--Walt Whitman


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