Leaves of Grass By the Roadside: Summary and Analysis

Walt Whitman

By the Roadside: Summary and Analysis

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer - Summary
The poet attends a lecture, where an astronomer is impressing the audience with his intelligence and the evidence he has gathered to support his claims, his findings: the “proofs,” “figures,” and “columns” of facts; the “charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure.” The astronomer is met with “much applause,” but the poet finds himself unimpressed with the science he has just been taught. He seems baffled, to an extent, by his reaction: “How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick.” It is as if his mind tells him that he should be impressed with the astronomer’s lecture, but his heart tells him that the glory of nature itself is...

(The entire section is 1291 words.)