O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, 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!
O the bleeding drops of red,
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 ribbon’d wreaths-for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
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;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, 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 mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Walt Whitman's poem O Captain! My Captain!


  1. Harshdeep Bhaila says:

    This poetry is one of the best one written by whitman coz this poem has a mixed venture of Happiness and Sorrowness..Here in the poem they are happy coz they have got victory nd sad because they have lost their president Lincoln////This poem has inspired me a lot…

  2. cheyenne says:

    i first heard of walt whitman in a book called “the wind blows backwards”. it introduced me to the world of american literiture and now i cant stop reading about it. i feel a lot older than i really am(15) and i feel conected somehow to his poems.

  3. sd says:

    What a good poem!!!

  4. Subrata Ray says:

    Whitman ,the mouthpiece of American pulse and temperament
    sings the dirge of America at the brutal murder of the great statesman ,-Abraham Lincoln .
    The poem is on hero-worship and the irrecoverable loss of the national leader.
    Whitman’s memorial functions the en-kindling of the voice of reverence to one who lived for others .
    The captain in his life stationed himself to a universal-captain .
    The poem proves to be a flag of American nationality .
    Subrata Ray .Mousumipara .Uluberia .West Bengal .India .

  5. Amanda says:

    this poem is most definitely about abe lincoln. I don’t know who you other people think he’s talking about, but it’s really abe. Thank you.

  6. emz says:

    i dont understand why you all are saying that it’s all about abe lincoln. of course, anything is possible. it’s true he could be referring to lincoln as one of the “fathers” of our country. but i never even thought about associating the poem with anybody other than whitman’s father or father-figure until i read all of these comments.

  7. darcy says:

    its definitely about abraham lincoln. whitman wrote it for him he said that himself. he also said he almost wished he never wrote it because he was asked to recite it so many times following the death of abraham lincoln.
    hey manda.. youre wrooong.

  8. Nakahlya H says:


  9. manda says:

    You guys have this poem pinned all wrong. Walt Whitman wrote this poem about Admiral Lord Nelson and the battle of trafalgar. This poem has nothing to do with abe lincoln. The battle of trafalgar is when Nelson finnally beat Napoleon for the last time. He was Captain of the HMS Victory. Walt even refers to that ship in his poem.

  10. suhaizad bin rosli says:

    I’m studying this poem in my English class right now.Its a bit hard to find the exact literiture analysis and the simpler one of the poem on the net, thats why I’m analysing the people’s comments, and thankfully its helps me to prepare for my presentation.

  11. George says:

    I loved this poem. I really appreciate the comparison between Lincoln and Whitman’s father. I find it very sad and strong that Whitman was able to write such a beautiful piece in the wake of two seemingly great men.

  12. Demi says:

    I think this poem is amazing. I am doing it for poetry out loud. If you get a chance see the movie the dead poet society.

  13. gelo odeste says:

    This poem is the best. i really like it. horray to o captain my captain

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