Inscriptions: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does the “Phantom” represent in As I Ponder’d in Silence?

2. Name the central image to which Whitman compares his book, Leaves of Grass, in the poem In Cabin’d Ships at Sea.

3. To whom does the poet dedicate In Cabin’d Ships at Sea?

4. In To a Historian, what does the poet claim to have written?

5. What are the Eidolons?

6. What advice does Whitman offer in To the States?

7. How does the poet confront adversity in Me Impertube?

8. In I Hear America Singing, where does the shoemaker sing?

9. What is the poet’s request in Shut Not Your Doors?

10. In Poets to Come, what does Whitman urge the poets, orators, singers, and musicians to do?

Answers
1. The Phantom represents the “genius of poets of old lands.”

2. Whitman compares his book to a lone bark “athwart the imperious waves.”

3. He dedicates his “song” to “mariners and all their ships.”

4. In contrast to the historian, who writes about “bygones,” Whitman says he writes “the history of the future.”

5. Eidolons are Whitman’s idea of the ultimate reality that is present in all things.

6. Whitman urges the states to “Resist much, obey little.”

7. He wants to stand “at ease in Nature” just as the “trees and animals do.”

8. The shoemaker sings “as he sits on his bench.”

9. The poet asks that his book be included in readers’ and libraries’ collections.

10. Whitman tells the poets of the future: “You must justify me.”