Is it bad that my favorite literary contribution of Walt Whitman’s was his “O Captain! My Captain!” being recited in Dead Poets Society? We all appreciate Leaves of Grass, but still.
Image via NYPL
Today we celebrate Walt Whitman’s birthday. The legendary American poet was the original literary rebel, unafraid to write about improper topics (when he wasn’t writing about nature), and reciting his lines in the free-verse style that he fathered all day long.
Here are some of his famous insights and pieces of wisdom.
To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
The future is no more uncertain than the present.
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.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.
Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul.
Nothing endures but personal qualities.
All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.
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?
I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends.
Resist much, obey little.
Featured Image NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project