500 AP English Literature Questions to know by test day

CHAPTER 2. American Poetry


Passage 4. Walt Whitman, “O Captain! My Captain!”


O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done!

The ship has weathered every wrack, the prize we sought is won.

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring.


But, O heart! heart! heart!

Leave you not the little spot

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.


O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells!

Rise up! for you the flag is flung, for you the bugle trills:

For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths; for you the shores a-crowding:

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning.


O Captain! dear father!

This arm I push beneath you.

It is some dream that on the deck                            

You’ve fallen cold and dead!


My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still:

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will.

But the ship, the ship is anchored safe, its voyage closed and done:

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won! 

Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells!

But I, with silent tread,

Walk the spot my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.