20+ Best Walt Whitman Quotes I Wish I Had Read

Are you looking for Walt Whitman quotes? If yes, you have come to the right place.

Poet and journalist Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819 in West Hills, New York. Considered one of America’s most influential poets, Whitman aimed to transcend traditional epics and eschew normal aesthetic form to mirror the potential freedoms to be found in America. 

In 1855 he self-published the collection Leaves of Grass; the book is now a landmark in American literature, though at the time of its publication it was considered highly controversial. 

Whitman later worked as a volunteer nurse during the Civil War, writing the collection Drum Taps (1865) in connection to the experiences of war-torn soldiers. Having continued to produce new editions of Leaves of Grass along with original works, Whitman died on March 26, 1892 in Camden, New Jersey.

We have compiled a list of Walt Whitman quotes for you to read.


Walt Whitman Quotes

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


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


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



I exist as I am, that is enough.


Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.


The future is no more uncertain than the present.


And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death.


Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.


I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.


To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.


Be curious, not judgmental.


The shallow consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise man sees in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws.


And your very flesh shall be a great poem.


Let that which stood in front go behind, let that which was behind advance to the front, let bigots, fools, unclean persons, offer new propositions, let the old propositions be postponed.


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.


I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before, Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.


And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero.


If you done it, it ain’t bragging.


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.


I celebrate myself, and sing myself.


I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences.


A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.


If any thing is sacred, the human body is sacred.


Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.


After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on – have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear – what remains? Nature remains.



I accept reality and dare not question it.


The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.


And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud.


The beauty of independence, departure, actions that rely on themselves.


The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.


A great city is that which has the greatest men and women.


I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.


Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?


Whoever degrades another degrades me, And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.


The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.


Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.


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


Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.


Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.


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?


To the real artist in humanity, what are called bad manners are often the most picturesque and significant of all.


We convince by our presence.


Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul.


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.


The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.


To die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.


Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.


I say to mankind, Be not curious about God. For I, who am curious about each, am not curious about God – I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least.


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


Simplicity is the glory of expression.


I heard what was said of the universe, heard it and heard it of several thousand years; it is middling well as far as it goes – but is that all?


I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends.


The beautiful uncut hair of graves.


Speech is the twin of my vision, it is unequal to measure itself, it provokes me forever, it says sarcastically, Walt you contain enough, why don’t you let it out then?


Freedom – to walk free and own no superior.



Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.


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


The real war will never get in the books.


To have great poets, there must be great audiences.


In the confusion we stay with each other, happy to be together, speaking without uttering a single word.


The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.


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


The words of my book nothing, the drift of it everything.


Produce great men, the rest follows.


He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher


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.


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


There is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheeled universe.

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