TO thee, old Cause!
Thou peerless, passionate, good cause!
Thou stern, remorseless, sweet Idea!
Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands!
After a strange, sad war—great war for thee,
(I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought,
for thee;)
These chants for thee—the eternal march of thee.

Thou orb of many orbs!
Thou seething principle! Thou well-kept, latent germ! Thou centre!
Around the idea of thee the strange sad war revolving,
With all its angry and vehement play of causes,
(With yet unknown results to come, for thrice a thousand years,)
These recitatives for thee—my Book and the War are one,
Merged in its spirit I and mine—as the contest hinged on thee,
As a wheel on its axis turns, this Book, unwitting to itself,
Around the Idea of thee.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Walt Whitman's poem To Thee, Old Cause!


  1. CwS says:

    Eric, what do you mean his “lyrics” have no rhythm? The poem is iambic–you trite, insipid, numb shit. It also uses repetition of words and ideas in a way that is undeniably rhythmic. I can only conclude YOU have no rhythm, nor any taste. Please refrain from lying about a man in whose glorious shadow you are not even an atomic little dust mite.

  2. Tony says:

    Eric is right about Whitman being pessimistic but I sure don’t agre that he is generalistic and assumptuous. I believe Whitman’s style seemingly simple but the content is rich and the meanings to be derived profound. I thinkk being the sensitive modern American that he was there was a lot to be pessimistic about during his time! He was ahead of his time..

  3. Heather says:

    He gives serious words a comical twist. Try not to analyze it, just appreciate the point he is making. The fact he is expressing his true, political point does indeed make him an “All-American” Poet, Eric….

  4. Keith says:

    Just because it has no rhythm dosen’t mean any thing. I think that his poems are great, and if you would just read his poems slowly and more than once; you wouldn’t think his poems are so complicated Eric!!

  5. Eric says:

    In general Walt Whitman is too general, assumptuous and pessimistic. His lyrics are lacking in any real rhythm and try to complicate overly simple lyrics. He is truly an all-american poet.

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