Song of the Broad-Axe

Related Overviews

Walt Whitman (1819—1892) American poet


'Song of the Broad-Axe' can also refer to...


More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Literature


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Poem by Whitman, published in Leaves of Grass (1856) as “Broad-Axe Poem,” and given its present title in 1867.

The “weapon, shapely, naked, wan,” is traced from the extraction of the rough ore from the earth to its shaping for the utilitarian purposes to which it has been put in different periods of history. The use of the axe by American pioneers, firemen, shipbuilders, carpenters, and butchers is contrasted with its use in foreign countries at earlier periods by sacrificial priests, warriors, and executioners. Thus it becomes symbolic of the freedom of democracy, contrasted with the restrictions of autocratic rule.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.