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Title: O Captain! My Captain!

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: November 4, 1865

Publication information: New-York Saturday Press 4 November 1865: 218.

Source: Our transcription is based on a digital image of a microfilm copy of an original issue.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00076

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, April Lambert, and Susan Belasco




image 1

(From Walt Whitman's "Drum-Taps.")

O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!1

———

I.

O CAPTAIN! my captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we
sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people are
exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim
and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
Leave you not the little spot,
Where on the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

II.

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;
O captain! dear father!
This arm I push beneath you;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

III.

My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and
still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor
will:
But the ship, the ship is anchor'd safe, its voyage
closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with
object won:
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with silent tread,
Walk the spot my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Notes:

1. This poem was reprinted in Sequel to Drum-Taps (1865); with revision in Passage to India (1871, 1876); and finally in "Drum-Taps," Leaves of Grass (1881–82). [back]


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