Walt Whitman

"When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer

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About the Captain

Walt Whitman is one of the best American poets there ever was, and one of the few poets who had a very good life. He was born May 31, 1819 and lived until the age of 72. He had 6 brothers and 2 sisters who all lived a long life. His mother and father lived too. He made his living as a journalist and his poetry became famous while he was alive. He was know. As the father of free verse. He denied that one faith was better than the other and excepted them equally. We can see it in the poem "Song of Myself" where he inventorys some major religions and excepts them equally. He strived for simply things and liking things the way they are. He expresses this in "When I Heard the Learned Astronomer". He was a nurse during the civil war and was for the Union soldiers. We can see the effects that the war had on him in "Oh Captain my Captain" . He died March 16, 1892.

When I Heard the Learned Astronomer



When I heard the learn’d astronomer, When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them, When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

What did he hear from the learned astronomer?

Walt describes a room in which he is full of people with an astronomer telling them about the stars. He uses figures and charts to explain. I think this represents his confusion. He says he became sick and looked at the stars. I think that he is saying when ever he is confused he goes out side to look at the stars.

When I Heard the Wise Man

When I heard the wise man say

You should go astray

Look at these figures and charts

They prove you wrong and he is impossible

He did not create you and the Big Bang happened

I became angered and swor under my breath

I turned and stormed out the door

As I walked out into the night

I looked at the stars with my faith renewed