Quotes by Walt Whitman

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Walter Whitman (May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. Proclaimed the "greatest of all American poets" by many foreign observers a mere four years after his death, he is viewed as ... more

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To die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

Oh while I live, to be the ruler of life, not a slave, to meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me will ever take command of me.
If you done it, it ain't bragging.
Other lands have their vitality in a few, a class, but we have it in the bulk of our people.
A great city is that which has the greatest men and women.
The great city is that which has the greatest man or woman: if it be a few ragged huts, it is still the greatest city in the whole world.
Let that which stood in front go behind, let that which was behind advance to the front, let bigots, fools, unclean persons, offer new propositions, let the old propositions be postponed.
The words of my book nothing, the drift of it everything.
Camerado! This is no book; who touches this touches a man.
To have great poets, there must be great audiences too.
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with such applause in the lecture room, how soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; Till rising and gliding out, I wandered off by myself, in the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, looked up in perfect silence at the stars.
O the joy of the strong-brawn'd fighter, towering in the arena in perfect condition, conscious of power, thirsting to meet his opponent.
How beggarly appear arguments before a defiant deed!
Old age, calm, expanded, broad with the haughty breadth of the universe, old age flowing free with the delicious near-by freedom of death.
Approaching, nearing, curious, Thou dim, uncertain spectre--bringest thou life or death? Strength, weakness, blindness, more paralysis and heavier? Or placid skies and sun?
I know nothing grander, better exercise, better digestion, more positive proof of the past, the triumphant result of faith in human kind, than a well-contested American national election.
It is only the novice in political economy who thinks it is the duty of government to make its citizens happy. Government has no such office. To protect the weak and the minority from the impositions of the strong and the majorityto prevent any one from positively working to render the people unhappy, to do the labor not of an officious inter-meddler in the affairs of men, but of a prudent watchman who prevents outragethese are rather the proper duties of a government. Under the specious pretext of effecting the happiness of the whole community, nearly all the wrongs and intrusions of government have been carried through. The legislature may, and should, when such things fall in its way, lend its potential weight to the cause of virtue and happinessbut to legislate in direct behalf of those objects is never available, and rarely effects any even temporary benefit.
What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to be more than all the words I have read in my life.