Walt Whitman Love Quotes and Sayings
#1 Preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass
1. This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labour to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body…
#2-3 I Sing the Body Electric
2. I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.
3. Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest, and is the exit of the rest,
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.
The female contains all qualities and tempers them,
She is in her place and moves with perfect balance,
She is all things duly veil’d, she is both passive and active,
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters.
#4 Leaves of Grass: Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances
4. When he whom I love travels with me, or sits a long while holding me by the hand, When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and reason hold not, surround us and pervade us, Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom—I am silent—I require nothing further, I cannot answer the question of appearances, or that of identity beyond the grave; But I walk or sit indifferent—I am satisfied, He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.
#5 Song of the Universal, 4
5. All, all for immortality,
Love like the light silently wrapping all
#6 Leaves of Grass: To You
6. Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear, I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
#7 A Glimpse
7. There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little, perhaps not a word.
#8 Out of the rolling ocean the crowd
8. Now we have met, we have look’d, we are safe,
Return in peace to the ocean my love,
I too am part of that ocean, my love, we are not so much separated
#9 Sometimes with One I Love
9. Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse unreturn’d love,
But now I think there is no unreturn’d love, the pay is certain one way or another
(I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return’d,
Yet out of that I have written these songs).
#10 The Mystic Trumpeter, 5
10. Love, that is day and night—love, that is sun and moon and stars,
Love, that is crimson, sumptuous, sick with perfume,
No other words but words of love, no other thought but love.
Excerpt from Wikipedia: Walter “Walt” 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 very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.
Sayings by Walt Whitman
#1-2 Talk to an Art-Union (A Brooklyn fragment) [S]
1. It is a beautiful truth that all men contain something of the artist in them. And perhaps it is the case that the greatest artists live and die, the world and themselves alike ignorant what they possess.
2. 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.
#3 Leaves of Grass
3. Happiness, knowledge, not in another place, but this place — not for another hour, but this hour
#4-5 Song of the Open Road
4. I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.
5. Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.
#6 Written by Walt Whitman, 1865, about the death of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln
6. 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.
#7-8 Song of Myself, 20
7. In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,
8. I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them.
#9 Song of Myself, 24
9. Whoever degrades another degrades me,
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.
#10 Song of Myself, 32
10. I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
#11 Song of Myself, 33
11. 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 hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.
#12 Song of Myself, 40
12. Behold, I do not give lectures or a little charity,
When I give I give myself.
#13-14 Song of Myself, 46
13. Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
14. If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
For after we start we never lie by again.
#15 SALUT AU MONDE!, 11 [S]
15. Each of us inevitable;
Each of us limitless—each of us with his or her right
upon the earth;
Each of us allow’d the eternal purports of the earth;
Each of us here as divinely as any is here.
16. To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
#17 O Me! O Life!
17. The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
#18 Song of the Open Road 1
18. Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
#19 Song of the Open Road 6
19. Here is the test of wisdom,
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…
#20 Song of the Open Road 9
20. The earth never tires,
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first, Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop’d,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
#21 The Sleepers
21. I dream in my dream all the dreams of the other dreamers,
And I become the other dreamers.
#22 Carol of Words 11
22. The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him—
it cannot fail…
#23 To a Stranger
23. I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
#24 With Walt Whitman in Camden vol. 1, Horace Traubel, 1906 [S]
24. Some people are so much sunlight to the square inch. I am still bathing in the cheer he radiated.
#25 Unfolded Out of the Folds
25. 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;
First the man is shaped in the woman, he can then be shaped in himself.
#26 Song of the Open Road, 5
26. From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.
#27 Leaves of Grass: Preface to the Original Edition, 1855 [S]
27. How beautiful is candor! All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.
#28 A Song of Joys
28. O while I live to be the ruler of life, not a slave,
To meet life as a powerful conqueror,
No fumes, no ennui, no more complaints or scornful criticisms,
To these proud laws of the air, the water and the ground, proving
my interior soul impregnable,
And nothing exterior shall ever take command of me.
#29 Starting from Paumanok, 12 [S]
29. And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present, and
can be none in the future,
And I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be
turn’d to beautiful results
Unsourced Walt Whitman Quotes
1. Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.
2. Be curious, not judgmental.
Quote misattributed to Walt Whitman
#1 This is by Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
1. Do anything, but let it produce joy.