122+ Best Walt Whitman Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Walt Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. Profoundly inspirational Walt Whitman quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

If you’re searching for quotes by famous poets that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound Sylvia Plath quotes, amazing William Blake quotes and top Margaret Atwood quotes.

Famous Walt Whitman Quotes

This is what you should do: love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone 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 . re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss what insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem. – Walt Whitman

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained, I stand and look at them long and long. – Walt Whitman

The mother condemned for a witch and burnt with dry wood, and her children gazing on; The hounded slave that flags in the race and leans by the fence, blowing and covered with sweat, The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, The murderous buckshot and the bullets, All these I feel or am. – Walt Whitman

Simplicity is the glory of expression. – Walt Whitman

You have not known what you are – you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life; Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time; What you have done returns already in mockeries; Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return? The mockeries are not you; Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk. – Walt Whitman

Long have you timidly waded Holding a plank by the shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea, Rise again, nod to me, shout, And laughingly dash with your hair. – Walt Whitman

I wear my hat as I please, indoors or out. – Walt Whitman

I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world. – Walt Whitman

I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. – Walt Whitman

And your very flesh shall be a great poem. – Walt Whitman

Logic and sermons never convince, The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul. – Walt Whitman

I am not contain’d between my hat and boots. – Walt Whitman

When one reaches out to help another he touches the face of God. – Walt Whitman

Whatever satisfies the soul is truth. – Walt Whitman

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. – Walt Whitman

Either define the moment or the moment will define you. – Walt Whitman

The female that loves unrequited sleeps,And the male that loves unrequited sleeps,The head of the money-maker that plotted all day sleeps,And the enraged and treacherous dispositions, all, all sleep. – Walt Whitman

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged. Missing me one place, search another. I stop somewhere waiting for you. – Walt Whitman

Forsake all inhibitions, Pursue thy dreams. – Walt Whitman

Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness then indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent. Perhaps indeed he or she to whom the free exhilarating ecstasy of nakedness in Nature has never been eligible (and how many thousands there are!) has not really known what purity is nor what faith or art or health really is. – Walt Whitman

Day by day and night by night we were together – all else has long been forgotten by me. – Walt Whitman

When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while holding me by the hand, … Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am silent, I require nothing further, I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of identity beyond the grave, But I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied, He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me. – Walt Whitman

I act as the tongue of you, tied in your mouth in mine it begins to be loosened. – Walt Whitman

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. – Walt Whitman

Wisdom is not finally tested by the schools, Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof. – Walt Whitman

Without enough wilderness America will change. Democracy, with its myriad personalities and increasing sophistication, must be fibred and vitalized by regular contact with outdoor growths – animals, trees, sun warmth and free skies – or it will dwindle and pale. – Walt Whitman

As for me, I know nothing else but miracles,Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,Or stand under the trees in the woods,Or talk by day with any one I love,Or sleep in bed at night with any one I love,Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon.Or the wonderfulness of the sundown,Or of stars shining so quiet and bright,Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring. What stranger miracles are there? – Walt Whitman

Oh captain my captain. – Walt Whitman

Perhaps the efforts of the true poets, founders, religions, literatures, all ages, have been, and ever will be, our time and times to come, essentially the same – to bring people back from their present strayings and sickly abstractions, to the costless, average, divine, original concrete. – Walt Whitman

Pointing to another world will never stop vice among us; shedding light over this world can alone help us. – Walt Whitman

These are the days that must happen to you. – Walt Whitman

To drive free, to love free, to court destruction with taunts, to feed the remainder of life with one hour of fullness and freedom – one brief hour of madness and joy. – Walt Whitman

The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught. – Walt Whitman

The eager and often inconsiderate appeals of reformers and revolutionists are indispensable to counterbalance the inertia and fossilism marking so large a part of human institutions. – Walt Whitman

There is no place like it, no place with an atom of its glory, pride, and exultancy. It lays its hand upon a man’s bowels; he grows drunk with ecstasy; he grows young and full of glory, he feels that he can never die. – Walt Whitman

I sing the body electric. – Walt Whitman

The road to wisdom is paved with excess. The mark of a true writer is their ability to mystify the familiar and familiarize the strange. – Walt Whitman

Every hour of every day is an unspeakably perfect miracle. – Walt Whitman

Note, to-day, an instructive, curious spectacle and conflict. Science, (twin, in its fields, of Democracy in its)-Science, testing absolutely all thoughts, all works, has already burst well upon the world-a sun, mounting, most illuminating, most glorious-surely never again to set. But against it, deeply entrench’d, holding possession, yet remains, (not only through the churches and schools, but by imaginative literature, and unregenerate poetry,) the fossil theology of the mythic-materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity. – Walt Whitman

What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life. – Walt Whitman

Out of the cradle endlessly rocking, Out of the mocking bird’s throat, the musical shuttle, . . . . A reminiscence sing. – Walt Whitman

Give me solitude, give me Nature, give me again O Nature your primal sanities! – Walt Whitman

Are you the new person drawn toward me? To begin with, take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose. – Walt Whitman

Happiness, not in another place but this place.not for another hour, but this hour. – Walt Whitman

Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life – Walt Whitman

The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him – it cannot fail – Walt Whitman

We convince by our presence. – Walt Whitman

An electric chain seems to vibrate, as it were, between our brain and him or her preserved there [in a Daguerreotype] so well by the limner’s cunning. Time, space, both are annihilated, and we identify the semblance with the reality. – Walt Whitman

The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds – where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough – a modest living- and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities. – Walt Whitman

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

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

I keep thinking about you every few minutes all day. – Walt Whitman

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you/ That you may be my poem/ I whisper with my lips close to your ear/ I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you. – Walt Whitman

I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough, To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough, To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough, To pass among them, or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment-what is this, then? I do not ask any more delight-I swim in it, as in a sea. – Walt Whitman

Be not dishearten’d. Affection shall solve the problems of Freedom yet; Those who love each other shall become invincible. – Walt Whitman

Americans should know the universe itself as a road, as many roads, as roads for traveling souls. – Walt Whitman

Where the earth is, we are. – Walt Whitman

I see the President almost every day. I see very plainly Abraham Lincoln’s dark brown face with its deep-cut lines, the eyes always to me with a deep latent sadness in the expression. None of the artists or pictures has caught the deep, though subtle and indirect expression of this man’s face. There is something else there. One of the great portrait painters of two or three centuries ago is needed. – Walt Whitman

I exist as I am, that is enough, If no other in the world be aware I sit content, And if each and all be aware I sit content. One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself, And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years, I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait. – Walt Whitman

There was never any more inception than there is now, Nor any more youth or age than there is now; And will never be any more perfection than there is now, Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now. – Walt Whitman

I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is sign’d by God’s name. – Walt Whitman

There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance. – Walt Whitman

A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls. – Walt Whitman

I am satisfied . I see, dance, laugh, sing. – Walt Whitman

Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you. You must travel it by yourself. It is not far. It is within reach. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land. – Walt Whitman

The truth is simple. If it was complicated, everyone would understand it. – Walt Whitman

this is thy hour o soul, thy free flight into the wordless, away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done, thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best, night, sleep, death and the stars. – Walt Whitman

A man can be a hero in any profession. – Walt Whitman

There was a child went forth everyday, And the first object he looked upon and received with wonder or pity or dread, that object he became, And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day. or for many years or stretching cycles of years. – Walt Whitman

My call is the call of battle- I nourish active rebellion;/ He going with me must go well armed. – Walt Whitman

We were together. I forget the rest. – Walt Whitman

The question, O me! so sad, recurring – What good amid these, O me, O life? That you are here – that life exists and identity, that the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. – Walt Whitman

Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you? – Walt Whitman

Be curious, not judgmental. – Walt Whitman

Re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,and dismiss whatever insults your own soul.It is also not consistent with the reality of the soul to admit that there is anything in the known universe more divine than men and women. The master knows that he is unspeakably great and that all are unspeakably great.There will soon be no more priests. They may wait awhile, perhaps a generation or two, dropping off by degrees. A superior breed shall take their place.A new order shall arise and they shall be the priests of man,and every man shall be his own priest. – Walt Whitman

The whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one single individual. – Walt Whitman

Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done. – Walt Whitman

The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first; Be not discouraged – keep on – there are divine things, well envelop’d; I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell. – Walt Whitman

Dismiss whatever insults your soul. – Walt Whitman

The art of art, the glory of expression, is simplicity. Nothing is better than simplicity, and the sunlight of letters is simplicity. Nothing is better than simplicity-nothing can make up for excess, or for the lack of definiteness. – Walt Whitman

Those who love each other shall become invincible. – Walt Whitman

Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself. – Walt Whitman

Freedom to walk free and own no superior. – Walt Whitman

The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give. – Walt Whitman

I am too not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. – Walt Whitman

I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time. – Walt Whitman

Do you see O my brothers and sisters? It is not chaos or death, it is form, union, plan, it is eternal life, it is happiness. – Walt Whitman

A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. – Walt Whitman

People who serve you without love get even behind your back. – Walt Whitman

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every cubic inch of space is a miracle. – Walt Whitman

God is a mean spirited, pugnacious bully bent on revenge against His children for failing to live up to his impossible standards. – Walt Whitman

I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. – Walt Whitman

I see great things in baseball. It’s our game – the American game. – Walt Whitman

Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes. – Walt Whitman

When the materials are all prepared and ready, the architects shall appear. – Walt Whitman

Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all. – Walt Whitman

Whoever degrades another degrades me. – Walt Whitman

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable. – Walt Whitman

Clear and sweet is my soul, clear and sweet is all that is not my soul. – Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son, Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding, No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them, No more modest than immodest. – Walt Whitman

I loafe and invite my soul. – Walt Whitman

To have great poets, there must be great audiences. – Walt Whitman

I am large, I contain multitudes. – Walt Whitman

The most affluent man is he that confronts all the shows he sees by equivalents out of the stronger wealth of himself. – Walt Whitman

Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find. – Walt Whitman

Have you heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won. – Walt Whitman

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

Love the earth and sun and animals, Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, Stand up for the stupid and crazy, Devote your income and labor to others. And your very flesh shall be a great poem. – Walt Whitman

I refuse putting from me the best that I am. – Walt Whitman

YOU whom I often and silently come where you are, that I may be with you; As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the same room with you, Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me. – Walt Whitman

The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung. – Walt Whitman

Produce great men, the rest follows. – Walt Whitman

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems – Walt Whitman

Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass, Be not afraid of my body. – Walt Whitman

The future is no more uncertain than the present. – Walt Whitman

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines. – Walt Whitman

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars, And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren, And the tree toad is a chef-d’oeurve for the highest, And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven, And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery, And the cow crunching with depress’d head surpasses any statue, And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels! – Walt Whitman

Love, that is day and night – love, that is sun and moon and stars, Love, that is crimson, sumptuous, sick with perfume, no other words but words of love, no other thought but love. – Walt Whitman

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. – Walt Whitman

Nothing endures but personal qualities. – Walt Whitman

Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you. – Walt Whitman

I think I will do nothing for a long time but listen, And accrue what I hear into myself.and let sound contribute toward me. – Walt Whitman

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