When the wind and storm of today brings in the golden Tomorrow, Whitman will shine forth, haloed in a new glory on the new horizon. His poems and his nation’s consciousness are inseparable. A man’s poems must always be an absolute reflection of his character and personality. And Whitman is no exception.
Saint Beuve’s definition of the greatest poet applies most justifiably to Whitman:
Let us see and feel Whitman in his “Song of Myself”:
I celebrate myself
and I sing myself,
And what I assume
you shall assume,
For every atom
belonging to me
as good belongs to you.
Who but the poet of Tomorrow could look across space and time into their very core? Again:
All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,
They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon ...
William Cowper said, “Wisdom is humble that it knows no more.”
Whitman says of wisdom:
Wisdom is not finally tested in schools,
Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it,
Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof,
Applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content,
Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things;
Something there is in the float of the sight of things that provokes it out of the soul."
Do we not hear in this the Voice of the Infinite and the Eternal? Whitman’s one foot is, as it were, firmly fixed on earth, the other in Heaven.
I am the poet of the body,
And I am the poet of the soul.
At another place he sings:
than the body."
It comes from its embowered garden and looks pleasantly and encloses the world."
Man and woman: different entities?
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man."
Could the picture of oneness be better painted?
Speaking of oneness and human sympathy, Carlyle affirmed,
Emerson and Whitman are twin-souls of the Truth: Emerson, soft, sweet and luminous; and Whitman, dynamically fronting the Reality which is manifesting to an ever-increasing extent. Fellow-pilgrims on their way to the Home of God, the culmination of today’s world, they march in stupendous glory.
Whitman’s vision of the oneness of everything and in everything compels him to reveal:
Animals and vegetables! If I realise you I have satisfaction.
Laws of the earth and air! If I realise you I have satisfaction."
And what could be more divinely prophetic and significantly true than this:
The true son of God shall absolutely fuse them."
Born ahead of his time, Whitman pointed to his nation and to the world the Path of Tomorrow. And, by the Grace of the Supreme, the dawn-rays of Tomorrow have already become visible, however faintly, on today’s horizon.