O Captain! My Captain!

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Walt Whitman (1819—1892) American poet


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Poem by Whitman, published in Sequel to Drum-Taps (1865–66) and in Leaves of Grass (1867). Although Whitman thought far less of this elegy on the death of Lincoln than he did of that entitled “When Lilacs Last in the Door Yard Bloom'd,” it has attained great popularity because of its relatively regular stanzaic form, rhyme, rhythmic pattern, and refrain. It tells of a ship, representative of the Union, coming safely into port, with “the people all exulting,” while the poet sadly walks the deck on which lies his Captain, “fallen cold and dead”.

Subjects: Literature.

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