O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman (read by Tom O’Bedlam)



According to Walt Whitman, this is about the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It is hard to see anything particularly relevant to that occasion but the American people accepted this poem as a suitable tribute and it became very popular. I suspect it owes a lot to Moby Dick – Melville was the same age as Whitman.

Afternote – “relevant” means having some real connection with the matter being discussed. There may be a metaphorical connection but if Walt hadn’t said that this was about Lincoln’s assassination then nobody would have guessed. The meaning of “relevant” is a trivial issue. I suggest you don’t knock yourself out trying to make any points about it having some direct relevance.

Here’s Vincent Price reading it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbLvv6X6up8

PostScript, 21st November 2011
I’m not the only one to notice the resemblance to Moby Dick. Melville was the same age as Whitman and Walt had not only read his works, he had also written reviews. Coincidentally, he wasn’t only born in the same year as Melville, he also died in the same year.

Here’s a passage from Moby Dick.
“Oh, my Captain! my Captain! noble soul! grand old heart, after all! why should any one give chase to that hated fish! Away with me! let us fly these deadly waters!.. etc” Had Whitman already written this poem before Lincoln was assassinated, then made the most of the opportunity? I wouldn’t be in the least surprised…
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/45113-o-captain-my-captain

source

Fahad Hameed

Fahad Hashmi is one of the known Software Engineer and blogger likes to blog about design resources. He is passionate about collecting the awe-inspiring design tools, to help designers.He blogs only for Designers & Photographers.

27 thoughts on “O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman (read by Tom O’Bedlam)

  • December 5, 2017 at 8:23 am
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    my God I've just felt a shiver cold,cold sweat 💦 the voice of Mr O'Bedlam,aabsolutely numbing.

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  • December 5, 2017 at 8:23 am
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    Love O'Bedlam's voice, even though I've never been a big fan of this poem.

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  • December 5, 2017 at 8:23 am
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    Walt's Lover, Peter George Doyle is my 1st Cousin 4x Removed & went to see "My American Cousin" on 14 Apr 1865 at Ford Theater the night of Lincolns assassination & noted as being one of the last to leave the theater that night[Shock I'm sure], I think* Walt was in NY visiting his Mother,[He wasnt hanging in DC, if so he would have been with Pete] he wrote this after Pete told him about the events he witnessed. Walt Wrote quite a bit about my family, Pete's brother Frances [btw Fought for the union, Pete fought for the Confederacy] Was the 1st DC Police Officer killed in the line of duty & by a Women in 1871 Walt was at his funeral & wrote to his Mother about it. Walt also mentions the NASH'S in a few letters which was Pete's Uncle & my 3rd Great Grandparents… Visit whitmanarchive.org To Learn all about Walt & go here read Pete & Walts letters & Photos of them etc etc… http://whitmanarchive.org/search/search_results.html?cx=001387595792235551746%3Awaoqmjfkhg8&cof=FORID%3A11&q=pete+doyle&x=0&y=0

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  • December 5, 2017 at 8:23 am
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    is it possible to use your readings for a video in my class project if I give you full credit? thank you

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  • December 5, 2017 at 8:23 am
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    If you want to read/hear another poem from Whitman re Lincoln's Death, one less oratorical and more lyrical, read/listen to "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed." Heart-breakiing.

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  • December 5, 2017 at 8:23 am
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    It is said and I must say it again; good reading!

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  • December 5, 2017 at 8:23 am
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    Great posting, enjoyed the reading. I think you are presuming a lot as considering his time in Civil War hospitals the lines can take a lot of turns. It's also worth mentioning that even late in life he only ever mentions women sweethearts while never acknowledging anything. Nothing is 100% known with Walt.

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  • December 5, 2017 at 8:23 am
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    I fought to get Whitman taught in a college American Literature class in Alabama. Shameful how homophobia can deny students an education. Even after Whitman was added to the schedule, we were inundated with disclaimers about Whitman's personal life. We were instructed to focus on his Christianity a public university. The next semester did not include Whitman. The class was mainly comprised of international students and I'm sad to think that future classes will never know Whitman.

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