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Quotes of the day: Walt Whitman

Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014 @ 6:28 AM EDT
Mar 26 2014

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. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


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

All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.

Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.

Be curious, not judgmental.

Do anything, but let it produce joy.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large -- I contain multitudes.

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

I accept reality and dare not question it.

I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.

I am for those who believe in loose delights, I share the midnight orgies of young men, I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers.

I exist as I am, that is enough.

I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.

I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends.

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

If you done it, it ain't bragging.

In the confusion we stay with each other, happy to be together, speaking without uttering a single word.

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

Nothing endures but personal qualities.

Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.

Other lands have their vitality in a few, a class, but we have it in the bulk of our people.

Resist much, obey little.

Simplicity is the glory of expression.

Society waits unformed and is between things ended and things begun.

The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.

The future is no more uncertain than the present.

The greater the reform needed, the greater the personality you need to accomplish it.

The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

The road to wisdom is paved with excess.

The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung.

There is no God any more divine than Yourself.

There is that indescribable freshness and unconsciousness about an illiterate person that humbles and mocks the power of the noblest expressive genius.

These are the days that must happen to you.

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 labor 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 at 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...

To have great poets, there must be great audiences too.

To the real artist in humanity, what are called bad manners are often the most picturesque and significant of all.

Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.

Whoever degrades another degrades me, And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Walt Whitman


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