Brother Of All, With Genesrous Hand

Walt Whitman 1819 (West Hills) – 1892 (Camden)

   BROTHER of all, with generous hand,
   Of thee, pondering on thee, as o'er thy tomb, I and my Soul,
   A thought to launch in memory of thee,
   A burial verse for thee.

   What may we chant, O thou within this tomb?
   What tablets, pictures, hang for thee, O millionaire?
   --The life thou lived'st we know not,
   But that thou walk'dst thy years in barter, 'mid the haunts of
   Nor heroism thine, nor war, nor glory.

   Yet lingering, yearning, joining soul with thine,                  10
   If not thy past we chant, we chant the future,
   Select, adorn the future.

   Lo, Soul, the graves of heroes!
   The pride of lands--the gratitudes of men,
   The statues of the manifold famous dead, Old World and New,
   The kings, inventors, generals, poets, (stretch wide thy vision,
   The excellent rulers of the races, great discoverers, sailors,
   Marble and brass select from them, with pictures, scenes,
   (The histories of the lands, the races, bodied there,
   In what they've built for, graced and graved,                      20
   Monuments to their heroes.)

   Silent, my Soul,
   With drooping lids, as waiting, ponder'd,
   Turning from all the samples, all the monuments of heroes.

   While through the interior vistas,
   Noiseless uprose, phantasmic (as, by night, Auroras of the North,)
   Lambent tableaux, prophetic, bodiless scenes,
   Spiritual projections.

   In one, among the city streets, a laborer's home appear'd,
   After his day's work done, cleanly, sweet-air'd, the gaslight
         burning,                                                     30
   The carpet swept, and a fire in the cheerful stove.

   In one, the sacred parturition scene,
   A happy, painless mother birth'd a perfect child.

   In one, at a bounteous morning meal,
   Sat peaceful parents, with contented sons.

   In one, by twos and threes, young people,
   Hundreds concentering, walk'd the paths and streets and roads,
   Toward a tall-domed school.

   In one a trio, beautiful,
   Grandmother, loving daughter, loving daughter's daughter, sat,     40
   Chatting and sewing.

   In one, along a suite of noble rooms,
   'Mid plenteous books and journals, paintings on the walls, fine
   Were groups of friendly journeymen, mechanics, young and old,
   Reading, conversing.

   All, all the shows of laboring life,
   City and country, women's, men's and children's,
   Their wants provided for, hued in the sun, and tinged for once with
   Marriage, the street, the factory, farm, the house-room, lodging-
   Labor and toil, the bath, gymnasium, play-ground, library,
         college,                                                     50
   The student, boy or girl, led forward to be taught;
   The sick cared for, the shoeless shod--the orphan father'd and
   The hungry fed, the houseless housed;
   (The intentions perfect and divine,
   The workings, details, haply human.)

   O thou within this tomb,
   From thee, such scenes--thou stintless, lavish Giver,
   Tallying the gifts of Earth--large as the Earth,
   Thy name an Earth, with mountains, fields and rivers.

   Nor by your streams alone, you rivers,                             60
   By you, your banks, Connecticut,
   By you, and all your teeming life, Old Thames,
   By you, Potomac, laving the ground Washington trod--by you Patapsco,
   You, Hudson--you, endless Mississippi--not by you alone,
   But to the high seas launch, my thought, his memory.

   Lo, Soul, by this tomb's lambency,
   The darkness of the arrogant standards of the world,
   With all its flaunting aims, ambitions, pleasures.

   (Old, commonplace, and rusty saws,
   The rich, the gay, the supercilious, smiled at long,               70
   Now, piercing to the marrow in my bones,
   Fused with each drop my heart's blood jets,
   Swim in ineffable meaning.)

   Lo, Soul, the sphere requireth, portioneth,
   To each his share, his measure,
   The moderate to the moderate, the ample to the ample.

   Lo, Soul, see'st thou not, plain as the sun,
   The only real wealth of wealth in generosity,
   The only life of life in goodness?

Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:09 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 4,116
Words 611
Stanzas 19
Stanza Lengths 4, 6, 3, 10, 3, 4, 4, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 14, 4, 6, 3, 5, 3, 3

Walt Whitman

Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. more…

All Walt Whitman poems | Walt Whitman Books

35 fans

Discuss the poem Brother Of All, With Genesrous Hand with the community...



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "Brother Of All, With Genesrous Hand" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Jun 2024. <,-with-genesrous-hand>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    June 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!



    Are you a poetry master?

    "Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe."
    A Lewis Carroll
    B Dr. Seuss
    C Shel Silverstein
    D Lord Byron