Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 — March 26, 1892), was one of America’s most influential and innovative poets and essayists.
One of his most popular works is the poetry collection entitled Leaves of Grass – which is now considered a landmark in the history of American literature.
Whitman grew up in a family of modest means, with little formal education. His family needed all the support they could get, so Walt started working at a young age. He was first hired as an office boy and later found employment in the printing business.
He worked his way up and eventually became a great journalist whose opinions didn’t always match with those of his readers or bosses. Since he backed women’s property rights, immigration and other labor issues, Whitman was later claimed as the first ‘poet of democracy’.
After finding his voice and style, the author self-published the first edition of Leaves of Grass which contained only 12 poems. While his book was considered controversial, it certainly got the attention of some famous writers at the time. Whitman revised his work and eventually turned it into one of the most praised literary works.
Here Are 78 Inspirational Walt Whitman Quotes (Author of Leaves of Grass) about Nature & Life
Walt Whitman quotes from Leaves of Grass
Do anything, but let it produce joy.
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.
I am large, I contain multitudes.
But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.
Peace is always beautiful.
[Animals] They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself. And what I assume you shall assume. For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
Resist much, obey little.
And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.
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.
We were together. I forget the rest.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
I am satisfied… I see, dance, laugh, sing.
Women sit or move to and fro, some old, some young,/ The young are beautiful — but the old are more beautiful than the young.
In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barleycorn less, and the good or bad I say of myself I say of them.
I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness. All seems beautiful to me. Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me; Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.
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?
Re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sunrise would kill me, if I could not now and always send sunrise out of me.
Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse unreturn’d love,/ But now I think there is no unreturn’d love, the pay is certain one way or another
I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time.
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.
I will sleep no more but arise, You oceans that have been calm within me! how I feel you, fathomless, stirring, preparing unprecedented waves and storms.
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./ The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.
Loafe with me on the grass—loose the stop from your throat; Not words, not music or rhyme I want—not custom or lecture, not even the best; Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.
Clear and sweet is my soul, clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.
Agonies are one of my changes of garments.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.
Only themselves understand themselves and the like of themselves, As souls only understand souls.
The sum of all known value and respect, I add up in you, whoever you are.
Walt Whitman quotes on nature
Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.
To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim–the rocks — the motion of the waves –the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
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.
A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
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.
You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, or even vagueness – ignorance, credulity – helps your enjoyment of these things.
Love the earth and sun and animals. Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks.
Me imperturbe, standing at ease in Nature, Master of all or Mistress of all…
Walt Whitman quotes on life
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.
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
There are the days that must happen to you.
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle.
Oh, to be alive in such an age, when miracles are everywhere, and every inch of common air throbs a tremendous prophecy, of greater marvels yet to be.
Sure as Life holds all parts together, Death holds all parts together.
Happiness, not in another place but this place… not for another hour, but this hour.
I exist as I am, that is enough.
Either define the moment or the moment will define you.
Whoever is not in his coffin and the dark grave, let him know he has enough.
The clock indicates the moment… but what does eternity indicate?
Inspirational Walt Whitman quotes
I refuse putting from me the best that I am.
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever after-ward resumes its liberty.
Of Equality — as if it harm’d me, giving others the same chances and rights as myself — as if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine — and shadows will fall behind you
What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.
I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.
The truth is simple. If it was complicated, everyone would understand it.
Be curious not judgmental.
I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.
I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake.
I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.
Pointing to another world will never stop vice among us; shedding light over this world can alone help us.
Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.
Judging from the main portions of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy.
The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.
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.
All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.
The future is no more uncertain than the present.
All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain.
When the materials are ready, the architects shall appear.
And that all the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each as profound as any.
Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
In the confusion we stay with each other, happy to be together, speaking without uttering a single word.
When one reaches out to help another he touches the face of God.
I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends.
Now understand me well–it is provided in the essence of things that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary.
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.
Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity. When I give, I give myself.
The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung.