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This poem was originally published in 1885 as “Ah, Not This Granite Dead and Cold” but later as “Washington’s Monument, February, 1885.” Whitman felt as though Washington meant more than just a monument; he was a symbol of American Freedom that could be felt all over the world. Whitman once said after it had been erected that he felt it “meant something in the friendship of nations” and that was his greatest hope. This poem reflects this sentiment as Whitman describes his fondness for Washington. He makes clear though that no monument can truly signify all the characteristics that were Washington’s. The true monument, as Whitman states at the end of the poem, is wherever one finds their toleration for others and freedom for thyself.


1. made sacred especially by religious or historical association
2. calling forth respect through age, character, and attainments


Whitman Walt. “Gathering of Forces” Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1847.


I cannot figure out how to edit…but it should be noted that my quote was found on page 105 in “Gathering of Forces” which I accidentally left out in the last post.

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Ah, not this marble, dead and cold :
Far from its base and shaft expanding the round zones circling,
Thou, Washington, art all the worlds, the continents entire
not yours alone, America,
Europes as well, in every part, castle of lord or laborers cot,
Or frozen North, or sultry South the Africans the Arabs in
his tent,
Old Asias there with venerable smile, seated amid her ruins;
(Greets the antique the hero new? tis but the same the heir
legitimate, continued ever,
The indomitable heart and arm proofs of the never-broken
Courage, alertness, patience, faith, the same een in defeat de-
feated not, the same:)
Wherever sails a ship, or house is built on land, or day or night,
Through teeming cities streets, indoors or out, factories or farms,
Now, or to come, or past where patriot wills existed or exist,
Wherever Freedom, poisd by Toleration, swayd by Law,
Stands or is rising thy true monument.