O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain!

(For the death of Lincoln.)

A draft of "O Captain! My Captain!" in Walt Whitman's own handwriting.

A draft of “O Captain! My Captain!” in Walt Whitman’s own handwriting.

by Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done!
The ship has weathered every wrack, 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!
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 trills:
For you bouquets and ribboned 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 still:
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will.
But the ship, the ship is anchored 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.

O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman (read by Graywolf)

Walt Whitman composed the poem “O Captain! My Captain!” after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. The poem is classified as an elegy or mourning poem, and was written to honor Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. Walt Whitman was born in 1819 and died in 1892, and the American Civil War was the central event of his life. He was initially indifferent to Lincoln, but as the war pressed on Whitman came to love the president, though the two men never met. (Adapted from Wikipedia;

More Walt Whitman poetry