Walt Whitman (1819-1892)|
When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
WHEN I heard the learn'd astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns
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.
This poem can be found in:
Whitman, Walt. Drum-Taps. New York, 1865. (as found in
Walt Whitman's Drum-Taps and Sequel to Drum-Taps: A
Facsimile Reproduction Edited with an Introduction by F. DeWolfe Miller
Gainesville, FL: Scholar's Facsimiles & Reprints, 1959.)
Ferguson, Margaret, Mary Jo Salter, and Jon Stallworthy, eds. The Norton Anthology of Poetry
(Fourth Edition). New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.
While more commonly known from later editions of Leaves of Grass,
the above poem, as well as O Captain!
My Captain, When Lilacs, and Chanting the Square Deific,
first appeared in Drum-Taps and Sequel to Drum-Taps.
Miller describes the difficulties Whitman had in getting these two works