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

  14. Heather Franken says:

    I know that this is about the death of our 14th president. But i simply have to agree with Ms. Emily Petersen. After reading her comment, it inspired me to learn more about Walt Whitman. The hardships that he had to encounter, especially after he lost his beloved father, who was a quaker. This poem is pure brilliance.

  15. InsomniKitty says:

    This poem is very sad, yet I feel joy.

  16. sam schultz says:

    when i was in 8th grade i read this poem and it took about a year before i finally could totally analyze it. For whitman to put Abraham and his fight for a union into a poem that makes no mention to either of the subjects related is amazing, its breath taking. I have read a lot a his poetry but this one with the rythum is by far my favorite..i have it memorized and will always..its on of those poems that will never leave your memorie..

  17. Chasten says:

    I think that this poem isreally showing emotion and I feel like I’m there when I read it

  18. Matt says:

    I love how Whitman can relate a captain to Abraham Lincoln dieing for his country or ship in this case.

  19. Seyanne says:

    awesome, v. moving

  20. Carlina says:

    As a teen growing up in modern America, I am faced with so many challenges every day. This poem inspired me to live life to the fullest.

  21. Natalia says:

    This poem was very inspiring. Yet, I thought it was quite sad and depressing.

  22. kiona says:

    I LOVE this poem it reminds me of why we need friends and what we believe in this is why I LOVE this poem!!

  23. Niessie says:

    I have a question: How would you read this part of the poem:

    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’re fallen cold and dead.”

    Is the “Here Captain!” supposed to be a phrase from the ‘swaying crowd’? When it says, “This arm beneath your head!” is it narrating how someone has gotten to Lincoln’s body and whoever it is is trying to hold the fallen president’s body up?

  24. joy thomas says:

    this poem gave me cold chills beyond belief it stunned me of how many feelings he felt for lincon they were so strong if i did not know any better i would think he had s/t for ol pres lincon lol jk i think he had a great amount of respect for him it was just unexsplianable what i felt while reading this strange but in away lovely poem

  25. Phanica says:

    I am a junior in high school.In my english class I was just asked to analysis this poem after watching “Dead Poets Society”;the movie is great, it symbolizes this poem and the history on it.

  26. Tayuko says:

    I love this great inspiring poem. I am very pleased with this work of Walt Whitman.

  27. thaly_lover says:

    What an amazing poem i love Walt Whitman and especially this poem O Captain! My Captain! and i love also his poem poets to come it is a beautiful poem

  28. Haley Jones says:

    I love and admire this poem on a personal scale. Last year in 7th grade, I had to pick an author to write a report on and memorize a poem of his. So, as you can guess, Whitman was my choice. What an amazing man he turned out to be, and I had hardly heard of him before then. This poem is so powerful. Not only is it about the dream Lincoln never fully was able to recognize, but in his death, so few people saw what a great person had been lost. Whitman has a knack for that, picking out what normal people miss. Obviously, Whitman was an introvert, as am I, to be able to notice and write such things.
    To all lovers of poetry and true emotion, watch DPS (Dead Poets Society) starring Robin Williams. It is my favorite movie, and you will easily see why.

    P.S.-to “yur mom” from Canada and others like this person: Please do not poison places of art with your disrespect. Sure, it may be funny to your friends and yourself, and you don’t have to enjoy this poem, but really, no one really needs to read your obsene comment. Thank you.

  29. Tiffany Heim says:

    This poem is about the speaker celebratimg the victory of the Union in the Civil War, but also the speaker mourns the loss of his “captain.” I have enjoyed reading this poem and I shall keep reading it because it is a very moving poem.

  30. Thomas Chamberlin says:

    This is, in my opinion, one of the best poems written by Walt Whitman.
    If you don’t understand the poem, please try to find out what it means before posting. If you feel the need to post that you don’t know what the poem is about, at least take the time to check your spelling… and capitalization… and your grammar… (There is this nifty thing called the Google toolbar. It has a spell check function.) This is not a chat room; you can take your time to look over your writing before you post.
    I won’t go in-depth about each stanza, as I am sure this has been commented on before. Anyway, if you have not already discovered the meaning of the poem, it is about the death of President Lincoln. This occurred mere days after Drum Taps began printing, and Whitman delayed its printing so he could add a poem about the death of Lincoln.

  31. Matt Wainwright says:

    This poem is hexa burley whicked!
    but seriously this poem is about the assasination of President Lincoln and the victory of the Civil War

  32. Alyssa Carson says:

    This is the most exciting, moving poem, that I’ve ever read.

  33. emily says:

    “Dead Poets Society” explains a lot. Amazing movie and amazing poem.

  34. sam says:

    I dont really understand the context of this poem. I know that it is about Abraham Lincoln, but i dont understand what each stanza means, if any one could help that would be great.

  35. page says:

    and im sorry Col. John B Devoe if i insulted you because your my heroe even though idont even know you

  36. shobha says:

    beutiful poem should be read by all .really touching

  37. edd says:

    i have seen several times in the media people standing on chairs (particularly in classrooms) and saying “o captain, my captain!” to teachers.
    what does that mean/

  38. Jamie Davis says:

    I liked your poems i’ve only read this one but the others have to be as good as this one is so keep them coming. truley jamie

  39. kelly says:

    O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN, watch the movie ‘Dead Poets Society’ with Robin Williams
    this is a great poem

  40. Stacy Johnson says:

    this was an AMAZING poem. it shows people the sadness and the tragedy of Abraham Lincolns death.

  41. Rianna says:

    how come i NEVER get these stupid poems. i guess im just like…retarded. why do they have to use symbolism and stuff? cant they just say what they are talking about without making it *secretive*? whatever. all i know is that the captain is ABRAHAM LINCON. thanks you guys for helping me!

  42. Emily says:

    I had to memorize this poem and recite it to my 8th grade reading class today. At first, when my teacher read it to my class, I had no idea that it was about Abrham Lincoln. When she told us it was about Abraham Lincoln i said it didn’t sound like it was, but after she read us the words and explained to us how they related to him the day he was killed by John Wilks Booth. I understood why he wrote it. I think this is a great and useful poem! If you don’t understand it think of it like it is a love poem just meant for you, and let the words explain themselves like your boyfriend or husband would if it was in a love poem!

  43. Joey says:

    like omg i toatlly loved da poem it how can you say rocked my socks! later hunnies peace

  44. Sarah says:

    It did not seem obvious at first, but this poem is about Lincoln’s death, and the re-united country. When Whitman mention’s the prize to that was won, The prize is actually the civil war, that began the recreation of the union.
    Lincoln did not, nor did many of the northerners, want the slaves to be able to vote, or even, to be free. He acts as a good president, negotiating with the different political figures and groups of the time. The emancipation Proclamation, for example, freed no slaves, because the rebelling states did not agree to any laws passed by the united states. It was actually meant to change the cause of the war, and boost northern soldiers morale.

    The poem portrays America’s loss in the death of Lincoln. It shows him as a father of our nation, and the man who helped bring us together again. The narrorator realizes this and mourns his loss.

  45. Corey says:

    This is a great poem and should be heard all over the country!!!

  46. Spinna says:

    This poem was quite intellegently created as to devise such an emotion as to stir the nation into the believence of this ever such event taking place. It did not, but will remain in our hearts as taking occurence in the USA. You may agree or disagree. That is your choice alone, but remember this poem is the heart of our nation. No matter your opinion

  47. Col. John B. Devoe USAF (Ret.) says:

    I was required to memorize this poem in grammar school in the year 1933…I can still recite it from memory.

    I would make the observation that the poem is surely not about the author’s father, not about slavery, but rather the preservation (not the creation) of the Union. That was the goal that was won.

    That was the goal sought and achieved, not the elimination of slavery. Lincoln himself expressed that view but desired to end slavery as well.

    It was slavery (the extension of it to other states the goal of the Rebels) that was the cause of the war, but Lincoln’s goal was the preservation of the Union.

    A great-grandfather of mine, Commander of the Fifth Michigan Infantry, died for that cause on 3 May 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

  48. Kellie says:

    In the 8th grade i had to memorize this poem as a project. i got really good and could say it in less than a minute. but that isn’t the point, the point is i decided to do some research on it because it was interesting and not very clear. but what i found out was that this poem really was created in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s death after the Civil War, just in case any one was wondering.

  49. gewn says:

    While doing research to help my group poetry and analyzing, I ran into this site. The comments are very interesting and helped me a lot. I finally understand all of the symbolism and such. I thought there were no hidden meanings. I thank everyone so much for helping me, i now understand it.

  50. milana says:

    i enjoyed this poem. i really get the symbolizm. i just wish i knew why he wrote it.

  51. Matt says:

    Maybe its known by all of us because its just a good poem… Can we help the fact that Walt Whitman was one of the most known Naturalist poets out there???

  52. Greg says:

    You don’t know why this poem is so famous? Maybe it’s because so many people liked it…

  53. Reg says:

    No, this peom is no good. how it is famos I dont knpw

  54. James says:

    I disagree, this is a good poem

  55. john says:

    this poem is not as good as I expected. I had heard that it was better

  56. Alia Qahtan says:

    o captain my captain is a great poem written by Walt Whitman. Tthis poem is an elegy on the death of Abraham Lincoin . the poet did not express his feelings directly he uses symbols and metaphors, the captain is Abraham Lincoin, the president ;USA is the ship; the voyage, fearful journey is the civil war-the war against slavery.
    in this poem the poet expresses his grave and sadness, because Abraham was his beloved leader. This man , Abraham, was very bold and fearless person, he took the case of Negro slave seriously . he said Negro should be treated as human beings , he was against the idea of Negro slave. None is inferior to another , all human are equal.
    Abraham was very proud of himself so he asked others to be proud of themselves.
    When the sip came back from it’s trip , people wanted to honor their leader, but they were disappointed to know their leader was no more .Walt Whitman was in the ship, he was very sorry to hear the news of the death of Abraham. His death was not natural one , he was assassinated .
    The poet says the fearful journey is over. it is successful ,because slavery is over. Negro get the right of equality.
    When the poet says 😮 captain , my captain rise up and hear the bells
    I felt as if I was there trying to make the captain to wake up. People are waiting to welcome him . people are gathered to honor him . but Abraham did not move he was died .

  57. Greg says:

    Walt Whitman is one of the best, if not the best, writer of all time. There seems to never be a flaw to his poems. I love the symbolism in this poem that relates to Abraham Lincoln’s death. When Whitman repeats heart! heart! heart!, I can almost hear gunshots. I can hear the ringing and the cheering of the crowds after the unification of the states. I love how Whitman first refers to Lincoln as just a captain and then adds in my captain and also describes him as a father. It seems to show his personal liking for the president. The father also seems to show some biblical allusion to me, as if Lincoln was a savior to America. It is great when Whitman says “The ship is anchor’d safe and sound” because it shows like a real captain, Lincoln went to all measures to finish the “voyage” of the “ship” (US) and the “fearful trip” (civil war) even if that resulted in his death. Even after he describes Lincoln’s death, he still says crowds are cheering, and should still be cheering for the influential president. I love how Whitman describes seeing the dead man as a “dream”, almost like he doesn’t believe it is happening and just wants to wake up. Such a glorious dream became a nightmare. Priceless. When I was done reading the poem, I noticed that the stanzas were all shaped like the front of a ship, and started with the word ‘captain’ as though the captain is on the deck. Did anyone else notice this?

  58. arielle says:

    i think that this poem is about abraham lincoln and how the civil war just ended and everyone( well not every one…) is rejoicing and soon after abraham licoln is killed

  59. shweta singhal says:

    he is a great poet indeed n i believe this is his one of the best poem. very nicely written describing all emotions various similis metaphors and personifications leads to the creation of a masterpiece

  60. Kriti says:

    its a really stirring poem …..i am actually a student n it is in my course…i luv to study abt it!!!!i need its summary…

  61. pearl says:

    Hello,i am one of the graduates in China. I am looking for reference about this poem in my thesis .i like Whitman’s poem .And i need you hand .Thank you

  62. lizabeth says:

    i love this poem….when you first read this you think that he is talkin about a boat and its captain….but its really about abrahim lincoln

  63. Angel says:

    This poem is AMAZING! just the fact that he puts the hurt that he is clearly feeling into it is powerful. I love it.

  64. Phoebe Zajac says:

    i really enjoyed this poem, because i read a book called becoming mary mehan, its about an irish girl and how the irish aren’t able to get a good job, and are almost like slaves, but not as bad. in this book walt whitman tried to get mary to visit dying soldiers in the hospital and goes in there a lot himself, near the end mary does go in and sees a man, this man is missing a leg, and mary pretends she is his sister and tries to make the end of his life as happy as possible, she tells him that she already told his mom that he had been brave, then she sees him die. she only goes in because her brother died in the war. i am doing a report in class, i am analysing what walt was trying to say in his poems, and what it means to me, im going to try to finish it tonight, thank you for reading what i have to say
    Phoebe Zajac 7th grade

  65. Shannon says:

    I thought the poem was interesting, and i remember seeing it on a tv show once, but anyway it is a cool poem.

  66. Jeff Ziolkowski says:

    This Poem is really good because it talks about Abraham Lincolns Death during the Civil War. I think that it is referring Abraham Lincoln as the Captain and we are the ship. Without a captain we are a ship without order.

  67. huma says:

    this poem is written nicely an in this poem i can see a hidden truth of life that people want freedom from slavery

  68. Barry says:

    This poem never ceases to move me. Whitman was a genius and a good human being who gave 3 years of his life working in the hospitals tending to wounded in the Civil War. America’s greatest poet

  69. Aharon says:

    I came to know this great poem, as most of the israeli people, at the memorial gathering after the assasination of Itzhak Rabin, our Prime-Minister, on November 4 1995.
    In any language you may choose, Whitman’s poem is an everlasting memorial stand to the CAPTAINS, the leaders of truth, who lost their life to hatered and ignorance.

    Alas the country who share the loss for her captain,
    Hail the counry blessed with poets as Whitman.

  70. Desrues says:

    I am French. This poem was given to me by an American soldier at the Liberation !I know it by heart …Since that time it moves me as much as before . I love America !

  71. Yonatan says:

    One of the most famous Israeli song and music writers Naomi Shemer translated the poem to Hebrew after Itzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995. She also composed it, and you can here a sample at:
    http://www.mooma.com/onealbum.asp?AlbumID=6638 (it’s in Hebrew, scroll down to the last song and click on the little black arrows). Unfortunately, the sample ends before “But O heart! heart! heart!” but I think it’s worth listening to, though it might change the way you’ll read the poem in the future.

  72. Melissa says:

    It talks about Abraham Lincolns Assasssination during the end of the Civil War. I think it was a good peom but hard to understand

  73. saud al sam says:

    for me i heard it on tv then i researched it on the web and i found that it is not only inspiring but also got me to think and research about ebraham linkin

  74. amanda says:

    I really didn’t care too much about the poem. I mean, he really didn’t talk about anything except Abraham Lincoln, and who really cares about him. Fuck all of ya’ll nerdy ass bitches. Yall need to do sometin betta wit yo time. Go smoke some dro or sometin. Thankyou for hearing what i have to say. And have a good day. Tootles

  75. belle says:

    I love this poem. It’s about the only one that he wrote that isn’t self serving. I like how it is a touching tribute to Lincoln. Although the only way Lincoln ever achieved greatness was because the south wanted more state rights and put up a fight for it. That is a whole different subject matter althogether. I like how the poem flows and Whitman’s use of words. It’s very fitting and it’s his way of immoralizing Lincoln.

  76. Dwarkesh says:

    This Poem is very touching and can penetrate the hardest of rocks. I have not felt any poem before that can give a concussion on a respect for someone that deep. Simply amazing!!!!!

  77. Bulbul says:

    This poem is really heart touching. This poem is full emotions.The way the poet has described his emotions on the death of the captain is really fantastic.

  78. Miranda says:

    My english teacher explained this poem to our class, and when I found out it was about Abe Lincoln, I was like, “cool!” This poem is really inspiring

  79. sara says:

    this poem is so inspiaring and real. it has so much hidden meaning that if you take time to find, you can never forget.

  80. bini says:

    my favourite recitation poem with full of emotions.

  81. Mr. Review says:

    this poem is simply alot of dribble scuered together to for a sad story of a president death, although i applaud the effort put into this “poem” i would have to say that it is simply to ordinary to be given any sort of heavenly placed comment there for i will have to give this poem a 2 out of 5 if your oppinion difers i will be happy to hesar from you, P.S. “The Dead Poet Society” was an excelent movie.I give it an A

  82. melanie says:

    This poem was assigned by my middle school teacher to annalyse the hidden meaning. Once i figure it out that this was about Abe Lincoln, the pieces began to fall together. And i think this was a very moving poem that should not be easily forgotten

  83. Kathryn says:

    I heard of this poem through a movie called ‘The Dead Poets Society’ and I think that the poem sounds even better when I read the whole thing instead of just knowing one line.

  84. Kasparov101 says:

    This poem is exquisite. I love how it flows so smoothly. Great rhymes, and a great topic to write about, although I have to be honest: I did not know it was about Abe Lincoln’s assassination.

  85. Rhonda Kidder says:

    Whitman was an awesome poet and I love reading his work. I also enjoy reading the comments written by so many viewers.

  86. lea says:

    i really love this poem.It has a very strong and deep meaning.Our high school literature teacher asked us to memorize this poem for our graded recitation. im not boasting but i got a hundred percent mark. i did it well that i brought her to tears.

  87. flor says:

    I think that in this poem the ship is the country not his life

  88. Stephen says:

    Those interested in the inspiration for Whitman’s use of the “captain” should research the relief of the siege of derry 1688-1689

  89. Cat Dancer says:

    This is one of my favorite poems from my favorite poet about who I condider by far the best president on the United States! “Now he belongs to the ages”

  90. Marcello says:

    A band made an acoustic song from this poem, its very good actually. You should all check it out if you have a chance. It’s called O Captain my Captain by Asteria

  91. sondang s says:

    i like this poems because this poem teach how to act to be a good leader.

  92. sonia says:

    it’s a good and interesting poem,give us inspiration how to be a good leader in our country.How wonderful this city coz the people can feel comfortable,though the leader can’t feel his victory.I appreciate u,,,,oo thanks aniway”’******”””BON NUIT””””

  93. Matt says:

    hmmmm in my opinion the ship is represenative of lincoln’s life because whitman says that the ship is safe and sound….almost to go along with lincoln’s strong religious beliefs that his ship is anchored in heaven or whatever it may be.

  94. Nick says:

    Probably one of my favourite poems of all time. . . a very wonderful and deep piece

  95. emily petersen says:

    dude, how much poetry do you realy read? ya walt whitman is a great writer, but hes not the best. i dont belive there can ever be. word of advise “explor”
    try william blake, ann sexton, umm….read some of my work….lol ok you dont have to go that far. but its like only eating oranges and not even lookin for the strawbarys.

  96. Jennifer says:

    I can visualize the scene laid out in the poem. I ccould hear the cries of the people on the shore. I could feel the writer’s sorrow. Beautiful and eloquent, this poem is extremely moving.

  97. leo says:

    From this poem we can see that Whitman is full of love with his country,and president,Lincoln.i was very moved by it.

  98. Kevin says:

    This is a very sad poem of the assasinasion of President Lincoln who haven’t got a chance to celebrate his victory.

  99. Amanda says:

    hey mr. stokes, i really did reaserch on the author. i was assigned to “learn” (memorize) this poem and do reaserch on it. i thought i was stuck with a boring poem but i really learned to like it, its really neat, i have 2/3 of it memorized already!

  100. Hillel Davis says:

    hi Mrs. H! I finaly did research on Walt Whitman, and this is my proof. Just don’t read the date it was submitted!

  101. bob the builder says:

    i think this is a realy good poem to do reports on, because there are so many ways to look at it

  102. Jacqueline says:

    It’s sad, soooooo sad. The leader has no chance to see the victory of the war that he led. Whitman uses captain to represent Lincoln, and the ship to symbolize the war. The captain cannot celebrate the success of the voyage, which arouses the exact sense of sadness.

  103. krista says:

    what is clearly apparent with this poem is the reason. after some brief research, whitman wrote it shortly after lincoln’s assassignation. whitman is using the ship as a representation of the united states democracy and the captain as lincoln himself. this poem has a very… somewhat odd, superstitious feel to it but ends in great sorrow and pain. this has always been one of my favorites!

  104. Ashley says:

    I thought this poem was very depressing. I’m not a fan of this particular poem!

  105. William McGhee says:

    I also think that Walt Whitman is a great poet. I also agree with Nadia about how we think that Walt Whitman used a ship as a symbol just to represent the US itself, witch I think is very clever. It also flows very nicely and is one of the best poems I have read in my life.

  106. Hilary says:

    I read this poem along with Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” at a speech tournement and won 2nd place. I love the meaning attached to the poem and the reason it was written.

  107. Bryan says:

    I happened to stumble on this website while i was doing ym english project on whitman. And it was a great help all the comments in this forum allowed me to get a great feedback on a poem i thought was one dimensional. EMily’s idea about the poem being about his father was awesome and i expanded on that and looked at this poem in a new light. Whitman is my favorite poet and i am glad that i found a new dimension on this poem

  108. Sahara says:

    Well…I think this is a great poem, I also agree with Rebecca, there are different point of views. Eitherway, hopefully eveyone enjoys this poem as much as I did!That’s all I wanted to say!

  109. Megan says:

    I honestly did not know this poem was about Honest Abe. I just thought that it was funny. I am very glad that I picked Walt for this project.

  110. Mallory says:

    It really says a lot about Lincoln’s death and how walt Whitman put the words to say that was pretty cool.

  111. DAVID JAMES says:


  112. scott macphee says:

    I had to memorize this poem for third grade.

  113. maury rose says:

    I was class president in the 9th grade and was instructed to memorize “Oh Captain My Captain”, I am now 72 years old and still remember this up lifting poem about Abe Lincoln. I entered this web site to see if I remembered every word as it should have been.

  114. WHy says:

    I think that their destination is a goal and to acheive thaqt goal there will be sacrifices and the captain in the peom represents the sacrifice

  115. Poemipe louver says:

    I love this poem, it makes me feel warm inside but also said cause it talk about Ab Lincoln dieing! It is well written and has good rythem!
    I rate it a 9 out of 10 on my fav poem list!!!

  116. Amir Meidan says:

    was translated to hebrew by the great Israeli poet Naomi Shemer, after the assasination of the Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin at Nov. 4 1995. This poem is read and sung each and every year since then. It is a very strong and moving poem in Hebrew as well as in English.

  117. nina says:

    i think this poem is a great view of lincolns assasination. i had to read this poem in class nd its a awesome poem. walt witman is a great poet nd i love his work… thats alllllllll

  118. rebecca says:

    i agree with emily peterson! i also agree with brittney because there are so many different ways that a poem can be viewed, depending on different senarios that have affected them, so there is no wrong point of view!

  119. nadia jalali says:

    i really liked this poem . it is very nicely written and flows very well.

  120. STINGER says:

    Whilst is almost certain that this poem was indeed moitvated by the assasination of Lincoln (‘captain’) i think it important to consider the anology of the ship setting. Why is the ‘captain’ a captain of a ship as opposed to another vehicle.? The ship in question, i belive, is the US itself. The journey of the divided states to the united states, the slavery to slave freedom-Lincoln involvment – thus …’the prize we sought is won’…’the victors ship comes in with object won’. there are more than 2 different underlying facets to this poem which i think are often overlooked. further, whilst no doubt a compelling poem that has attrected much attention, it is also, therefore, a hugely overated poem of whitman’s – there being many better and more precise examples witihn the combined body of ‘leaves of grass’.

  121. emily petersen says:

    ok first of all to make it clear i did know he wrote it about abe. william blake is my favorit favorit writer. poets often cover up what their realy writing about. maby he didnt want people to know that this was about this father so he used abe as a cover. i know i do crap like that all the time. its all how you look at it.my fav. from him is The Tiger. and also the sick rose. i love too much. well anyways thanx for your input….but i like to relate stuff to me cuzzz i think i conect with it more and i love it more.

  122. Hunter Lewis says:

    When I read this poem I also think of a father. This father was on a long voyage to help his son. He has finally achieved it therefor having no more will to live. The son, finally touched by his father, does not wish for his father to go, but yet his captian lays cold and dead.

  123. Alexis Morales says:

    This poem is amazing and h knew just how to use all those words to make this poem so powerful and meaningful. It took me a while to really understand it but then it came to me and the chills just ran right through me. its wonderful!

  124. Sabrina says:

    i thought it was a great poem and i enjoyed reading it! because had this amazing flow through it

  125. Kt Con says:

    I had to read this poem in class and it is just the greatest! I love how it flows and how dead is veiwed somewhat as a surprise. It seems that the narorator is unassure at first to if he is really dead…BUT IT STILL IS AWESOME!

  126. Anzen says:

    “Back in Washington Lincoln never regained consciousness and passed away at 7:22 A.M. on the morning of April 15 at the Petersen House (across the street from the theatre).”

  127. Abraham Proffitt says:

    This is my Favorite poem of Walt Whitman. I read it often around school and people say it’s weird. My first name is the same as Abraham Lincoln’s. In ninth grade I presented a report on Abraham Lincoln and this poem means something different to me now. Thanks!

  128. Gail says:

    This is one of my favorite poems. Did you know that after Israel’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assasinated 9 years ago, this poem was trasnlated into Hebrew. It had a very similar effect on Israelies as it did on Americans who first heard the poem after Lincoln’s assassination. It is a very powerful poem.

  129. Lauren says:

    I am writing a critical analysis of O Captain! My Captain! but i’m having trouble writing an entire paper based solely on the Abraham Lincoln//Civil War symbolism, if anyone can throw any other ideas my way i’d appreciate it.

    This is my favorite Whitman poem. I think if he would ahve tried to use a different set of symbols for the war and the assanation it wouldn’t have been as effective.

  130. Brittney Littrell says:

    Willis, Emily Peterson is entitled to her opinion. She may not have known what the poem was originally written for. Your insult wasn’t neccessary at all.

    On another note, I think that “O Captain! My Captain” is a beautifully written poem with a lot of emotion on it.

    Can anyone give me a good site that has a lot or criticism on it?


  131. Ryan Dupler says:

    I think the poem “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman is a very creative but inspiring and true at the same time. This is because he describes Abraham Lincoln’s death (assassination), and it can be used in many ways including the way Emily Peterson analyzes it. I think it is one of his best poems!

  132. Gunnar says:

    thanks for posting your view on this poem.

    The conventional take on “O Captain! My Captain!” is that it was written in response to the assassination of president Abraham Lincoln in 1865. The poem was immediately seized upon by a grieving nation, and actually the most widely read of Whitman’s poems during his own lifetime. In fact, he was asked to recite the poem so many times in the years to follow that he said “I’m almost sorry I ever wrote it,” though it had “certain emotional immediate reasons for being.”

    That being said, anyone is free to interpret a poem in their own way. This particular poem can be read in many ways, and you can insert any type of paternal figure as the “Captain”, including of course your own father, with good effect.

  133. emily petersen says:

    The poem o captain my captain to me was analysed as a cry to his fatheron his death bed. hes crying out to his father with the pain he fells for him. “but o heart! heart1 heart!” he also wants to let his father know that he is always their for him, but his father dose not relise it. “my father dose not feel my arm, he has no pulse or will.” he says it like his father is not trying. like his father never wanted to have support from his son. when he says, “from fearfull trip,” he was talking about the hardships in his fathers life that they had to face, such as raising his nine kids. walt whitman is one of my many favort writers, not ony becuse of what is realy behind his poems, but what they realy contain. this is my first time writing down what i thought a poem ment, i always just do it in my head. but this one is realy a true favorit and it desurved it. please email me and tell me what you think.

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