Download Song of Myself Study Guide

Subscribe Now

"The Soul Is Not More Than The Body"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Leaves of Grass, an extraordinary publication of twelve poems and ninety-four pages, financed by its author, that appeared in 1855, first introduced Walt Whitman and his free verse. Nine later editions added to and rearranged the contents, which embodied such themes as love, death, democracy, religion, and the beauty and importance of the human body. The beginning of Canto 48 voices several of Whitman's themes.

I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's soul is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth,
. . .
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
And I say to Mankind, Be not curious about God,
For I who am curious about each am not curious about God,
(No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about God and about death.)