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What’s the glory in living? How do we find our real purpose in life?
This post is a compilation of quotes from one of the greatest and most influential poets in the history of literature – Walt Whitman.
Walt Whitman was not just a poet and an essayist. He was also a humanist, who valued life in the essence of rationalism rather than superstition.
One of his most popular works is the poetry collection entitled “Leaves of Grass,” which is a summary of his outlook on life and humanity. Although the book was highly controversial during its time (for its sensual nature), it still became one of the most praised literary works for its emphasis on the value of human life.
Hence, in this article, we gathered the 63 best Walt Whitman quotes that may help you find the meaning in your life. We all doubt ourselves at some point. But that shouldn’t stop us from discovering our true purpose.
First up, we share with you some Walt Whitman quotes about simplicity and strength. When in doubt, all you have to do is appreciate how simple life can be, and if it doesn’t go your way, know that you are strong enough to overcome any struggle that may come as a hindrance.
Walt Whitman Quotes on Simplicity and Strength
- “Simplicity is the glory of expression.”
- “Not I nor anyone else can travel that road for you. You must travel it by yourself. It is not far. It is within reach. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
- “Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.”
- “The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.”
- “I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake.”
- “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering… these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.”
- “Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.”
- “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large – I contain multitudes.”
- “I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.”
- “I like the scientific spirit – the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine – it always keeps the way beyond open – always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake – after a wrong guess.”
- “There is no God any more divine than yourself.”
- “There are days that must happen to you.”
- “To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.”
- “You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, not look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books. You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me. You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.”
- “I refuse putting from me the best that I am.”
- “I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness.”
- “The sum of all known value and respect, I add up in you, whoever you are.”
- “Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?”
- “Henceforth, I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.”
- “I am not a bit tamed. I too am untranslatable. I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”
- “Each of us inevitable; Each of us limitless-each of us with his or her right upon the earth.”
Sometimes, we fear that we are not enough and that we are too weak to overcome adversity. But Walt Whitman begs to disagree – you are strong, and you can be glorious if you choose to.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get to your destination. What matters is how determined and motivated you are to reach it and become the happy and successful person who you were always meant to be.
Next, we have some Walt Whitman quotes for you about love, art, and the goodness of giving. In our journey through life, we sometimes just need to appreciate the beauty of what’s in front of us – whether it be good or bad.
Walt Whitman Quotes on Love, Art, and Giving
- “Peace is always beautiful.”
- “Sometimes with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn’d love; But now I think there is no unreturn’d love – the pay is certain, one way or another.”
- “All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain.”
- “I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.”
- “Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you. That you may be my poem. I whisper with my lips close to your ear. I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.”
- “Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch.”
- “All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.”
- “Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams. Now I wash the gum from your eyes. You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.”
- “Be curious, not judgmental.”
- “I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.”
- “Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged. Missing me one place, search another. I stop somewhere waiting for you.”
- “The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung.”
- “Love the earth and sun and animals. Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks. Stand up for the stupid and crazy. Devote your income and labor to others. And your flesh shall be a great poem.”
- “Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity. When I give, I give myself.”
- “Be not dishearten’d – Affection shall solve the problems of freedom yet; those who love each other shall become invincible.”
- “What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to be more than all the print I have read in my life.”
- “I am to wait. I do not doubt I am to meet you again. I am to see to it that I do not lose you.”
- “The road to wisdom is paved with excess. The mark of a true writer is their ability to mystify the familiar and familiarize the strange.”
- “Every hour of every day is an unspeakably perfect miracle.”
- “Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.”
- “Those who love each other shall become invincible.”
Life becomes happier when you learn to appreciate its beauty. Everything around you – nature, the people, and all that contributes to your humanity – is what makes you feel. Without them, you won’t be able to learn how life can be so meaningful.
Our last set of Walt Whitman quotes uncovers the meaning of life through finding happiness. Whitman believed that for a person to find his true purpose in life, he has to be happy in all his endeavors.
Happiness is anywhere, everywhere. It can be in the work that you do, in the people that you have, or simply in the environment where you live. But most important, it is inside your heart – where freedom and compassion collide.
Walt Whitman Quotes on Happiness
- “Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.”
- “Oh while I live, to be the ruler of life, not a slave, to meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me will ever take command of me.”
- “Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul.”
- “Happiness, not in another place but this place… not for another hour, but this hour.”
- “I exist as I am, that is enough. If no other in the world be aware I sit content. And if each and all be aware I sit content. One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself. And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years, I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.”
- “Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.”
- “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
- “Do anything, but let it produce joy.”
- “I celebrate myself, and sing myself. And what I assume you shall assume. For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
- “Pointing to another world will never stop vice among us; shedding light over this world can alone help us.”
- “Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.”
- “Afoot and lighthearted I take the open road, healthy free, the world before me.”
- “I am satisfied. I see, dance, laugh, sing.”
- “It is only the novice in political economy who thinks it is the duty of government to make its citizens happy – government has no such office.”
- “Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
- “I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than words to tell.”
- “In the faces of men and women, I see God.”
- “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”
- “Oh, to be alive in such an age, when miracles are everywhere, and every inch of common air throbs a tremendous prophecy, of greater marvels yet to be.”
- “The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.”
- “All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses. And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.”
Final Thoughts on Walt Whitman Quotes
When we face difficulties or encounter adversities, we feel like we’ve lost ourselves that’s why we find it hard to get up again. Thus, we say that we need to find ourselves – soul searching, as what others would like to call it.
But in reality, we don’t need to find ourselves or our souls. It has always been there inside you, but you couldn’t notice it because you’re too busy focusing on the fact that it was lost.
What you really need to find is your true purpose in life, and how to accomplish it. This is what will make you truly happy and at ease.
Did any of the quotes above resonate with you?
Or have you been feeling lost and weary lately that these quotes made you feel better? We’d love to hear your story! Feel free to share it in the comment section below!
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Live and love the life you have. Find your purpose and become happier. You are destined to succeed.
And if you want more inspirational quotes, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 75 Simple Life Quotes to Focus on What's Important
- 51 Quotes About How Life is a Journey
- 75 Life is Too Short Quotes to Savor Every Moment
Finally, if you want to use these quotes to make a lasting change to your life, then check out and recite these 57 affirmations for success.