Walt Whitman Quotes 1–30 of 65 Quotes

Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American journalist and poet, most famous for his lifelong work on his book Leaves of Grass.

Below are 30 of 65 sourced Walt Whitman quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“It is a beautiful truth that all men contain something of the artist in them. And perhaps it is the case that the greatest artists live and die, the world and themselves alike ignorant what they possess. Who would not mourn that an ample palace, of surpassingly graceful architecture, fill’d with luxuries, and embellish’d with fine pictures and sculpture, should stand cold and still and vacant, and never be known or enjoy’d by its owner? Would such a fact as this cause your sadness? Then be sad. For there is a palace, to which the courts of the most sumptuous kings are but a frivolous patch, and, though it is always waiting for them, not one of its owners ever enters there with any genuine sense of its grandeur and glory. I think of few heroic actions, which cannot be traced to the artistical impulse. He who does great deeds, does them from his innate sensitiveness to moral beauty.”

— Walt Whitman

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Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#1

Quote source: "Talk to an Art-Union (A Brooklyn fragment)" (1839); later delivered as a lecture at the Brooklyn Art Union (31 March 1851) and printed in the Brooklyn Daily Advertizer (3 April 1851)

“Talk not so much, then, young artist, of the great old masters, who but painted and chisell’d. Study not only their productions. There is a still higher school for him who would kindle his fire with coal from the altar of the loftiest and purest art. It is the school of all grand actions and grand virtues, of heroism, of the death of patriots and martyrs — of all the mighty deeds written in the pages of history — deeds of daring, and enthusiasm, devotion, and fortitude.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: "Talk to an Art-Union (A Brooklyn fragment)" (1839)

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. . . . The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work. He shall know that the ground is always ready ploughed and manured . . . . others may not know it but he shall. He shall go directly to the creation. His trust shall master the trust of everything he touches . . . . and shall master all attachment.”

— Walt Whitman

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Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#3

Quote source: From the Preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass

“In our sun-down perambulations, of late, through the outer parts of Brooklyn, we have observed several parties of youngsters playing "base", a certain game of ball ... Let us go forth awhile, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our close rooms ... the game of ball is glorious.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Comments on baseball in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (23 July 1846), as quoted in Walt Whitman Looks at the Schools (1950) by Florence Bernstein Freedman, p. 126-127

“I have just this moment heard from the front — there is nothing yet of a movement, but each side is continually on the alert, expecting something to happen. O Mother, to think that we are to have here soon what I have seen so many times, the awful loads and trains and boatloads of poor, bloody, and pale and wounded young men again — for that is what we certainly will, and before very long. I see all the little signs, getting ready in the hospitals, etc.; it is dreadful when one thinks about it. I sometimes think over the sights I have myself seen: the arrival of the wounded after a battle, and the scenes on the field, too, and I can hardly believe my own recollections. What an awful thing war is! Mother, it seems not men but a lot of devils and butchers butchering each other.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Letter to his mother (22 March 1864)

“Looking over my scraps, I find I wrote the following during 1864. The happening to our America, abroad as well as at home, these years, is indeed most strange. The democratic republic has paid her to-day the terrible and resplendent compliment of the united wish of all the nations of the world that her union should be broken, her future cut off, and that she should be compell’d to descend to the level of kingdoms and empires ordinarily great. There is certainly not one government in Europe but is now watching the war in this country, with the ardent prayer that the United States may be effectually split, crippled, and dismember’d by it. There is not one but would help toward that dismemberment, if it dared. […] Are we indignant? alarm’d? Do we feel jeopardized? No; help’d, braced, concentrated, rather. We are all too prone to wander from ourselves, to affect Europe, and watch her frowns and smiles. We need this hot lesson of general hatred, and henceforth must never forget it. Never again will we trust the moral sense nor abstract friendliness of a single government of the old world.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: "Attitude of Foreign Governments During the War", The Complete Prose Works of Walt Whitman (1892), volume 1, part I: Specimen Days.

“We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them. They will be found ampler than has been supposed, and in widely different sources. Thus far, impress'd by New England writers and schoolmasters, we tacitly abandon ourselves to the notion that our United States has been fashion'd from the British Islands only, and essentially form a second England only — which is a very great mistake.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: "The Spanish Element in Our Nationality," letter to the Philadelphia Press (20 July 1883), later published in The Complete Prose Works of Walt Whitman (1892), part V: November Boughs

“Some people are so much sunlight to the square inch. I am still bathing in the cheer he radiated.”

— Walt Whitman

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Source: Wikiquote: "Walt Whitman" (Quotes)

“There was a kind of labor agitator here today—a socialist, or something like that: young, a rather beautiful boy — full of enthusiasms: the finest type of the man in earnest about himself and about life. I was sorry to see him come: I am somehow afraid of agitators, though I believe in agitation: but I was more sorry to see him go than come. Some people are so much sunlight to the square inch. I am still bathing in the cheer he radiated. … Cheer! cheer! Is there anything better in this world anywhere than cheer — just cheer? Any religion better? — any art? Just cheer!”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Conversation with Whitman (16 May 1888) as quoted in With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906) by Horace Traubel, Vol. I

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“I said: "Baseball is the hurrah game of the republic!" He was hilarious: "That's beautiful: the hurrah game! well — it's our game: that's the chief fact in connection with it: America's game: has the snap, go fling, of the American atmosphere — belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly, as our constitutions, laws: is just as important in the sum total of our historic life."”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Conversation with Whitman (4 July 1889) as quoted in With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906) by Horace Traubel, Vol. IV

“If the United States haven't grown poets, on any scale of grandeur, it is certain that they import, print, and read more poetry than any equal number of people elsewhere — probably more than the rest of the world combined. Poetry (like a grand personality) is a growth of many generations — many rare combinations. To have great poets, there must be great audiences too.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Complete Prose Works (1892), III. Notes Left Over 3. Ventures, on an Old Theme, p.324

“I will write the evangel-poem of comrades and of love.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Starting from Paumanok, 6

“I say the real and permanent grandeur of these States must be their religion.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett ''Starting from Paumanok. 7

“I say the whole earth and all the stars in the sky are for religion’s sake.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett ''Starting from Paumanok. 7

“None has begun to think how divine he himself is and how certain the future is.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett ''Starting from Paumanok. 7

“Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.”

— Walt Whitman

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Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett ''Starting from Paumanok. 12

“I loafe and invite my soul.”

— Walt Whitman

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Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#18

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#18

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Song of Myself, 1

“I have no mockings or arguments; I witness and wait.”

— Walt Whitman

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Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#19

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#19

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Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#19

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#19

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Song of Myself, 4

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“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”

— Walt Whitman

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Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#21

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#21

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#21

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#21

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Song of Myself, 52

“I see Hermes, unsuspected, dying, well-beloved, saying to the people, "Do not weep for me, This is not my true country, I have lived banished from my true country—I now go back there, I return to the celestial sphere where every one goes in his turn."”

— Walt Whitman

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Use the following citations in bold to cite the above quote for reference purposes. To cite multiple quotes, use the cite this page section below.

For general use. A combination of the APA, Chicago and MLA citation styles.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#22

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#22

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#22

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#22

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Salut au Monde, 6

“Each of us inevitable; Each of us limitless—each of us with his or her right upon the earth.”

— Walt Whitman

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For general use. A combination of the APA, Chicago and MLA citation styles.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#23

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#23

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#23

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#23

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Salut au Monde, 11

“The great city is that which has the greatest man or woman.”

— Walt Whitman

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Use the following citations in bold to cite the above quote for reference purposes. To cite multiple quotes, use the cite this page section below.

For general use. A combination of the APA, Chicago and MLA citation styles.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#24

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#24

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#24

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#24

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Song of the Broad-Axe

“In this broad earth of ours, Amid the measureless grossness and the slag, Enclosed and safe within its central heart, Nestles the seed perfection.”

— Walt Whitman

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For general use. A combination of the APA, Chicago and MLA citation styles.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#25

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#25

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#25

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#25

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Song of the Universal, 1

“All, all for immortality, Love like the light silently wrapping all.”

— Walt Whitman

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Use the following citations in bold to cite the above quote for reference purposes. To cite multiple quotes, use the cite this page section below.

For general use. A combination of the APA, Chicago and MLA citation styles.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#26

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#26

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#26

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#26

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Song of the Universal, 4

“Youth, large, lusty, loving—Youth, full of grace, force, fascination! Do you know that Old Age may come after you, with equal grace, force, fascination?”

— Walt Whitman

Cite This Quote

Use the following citations in bold to cite the above quote for reference purposes. To cite multiple quotes, use the cite this page section below.

For general use. A combination of the APA, Chicago and MLA citation styles.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#27

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#27

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#27

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#27

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Youth, Day, Old Age and Night

“Roaming in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is Good steadily hastening towards immortality, And the vast that is evil I saw hastening to merge itself and become lost and dead.”

— Walt Whitman

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Use the following citations in bold to cite the above quote for reference purposes. To cite multiple quotes, use the cite this page section below.

For general use. A combination of the APA, Chicago and MLA citation styles.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#28

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#28

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#28

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#28

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Roaming in Thought, 1

“Thunder on! Stride on! Democracy. Strike with vengeful stroke!”

— Walt Whitman

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Use the following citations in bold to cite the above quote for reference purposes. To cite multiple quotes, use the cite this page section below.

For general use. A combination of the APA, Chicago and MLA citation styles.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#29

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#29

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#29

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html#29

Quote source: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919):
John R. Bartlett Drum-Taps. Rise O Days from your fathomless Deep, 3

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For general use. A combination of the APA, Chicago and MLA citation styles.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Whitman, Walt (2021, July 30) Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 30 July 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html

MLA Citation: Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Whitman, Walt. “Walt Whitman Quotes: 1–30 of 65 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Walt-Whitman-quotes.html

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