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About this Item

Title: O Captain! My Captain!

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: November 4, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: per.00076

Source: New-York Saturday Press 4 November 1865: 218. Our transcription is based on a digital image of a microfilm copy of an original issue. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

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

image 1

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




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
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.


O captain! my captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle
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.


My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor
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.


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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