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I think this poem has too much going on for me to attempt to explain in one blob of a paragraph, so I will annotate it in a post on my blog. This way I will have much more control over the presentation of ideas and not confuse everyone.
For this poem, I think it best to first look at the title of the section Sands at Seventy, and the title of the subsection Fancies at Navesink. This poem is part of a section called Sands at Seventy, where Whitman metaphorically looks out on his coming future—his seventieth birthday. This poem was actually written in 1885—four years prior his momentous birthday—so it fits the title of Sands at Seventy in terms of theme not chronology. Now, let’s look at the title Fancies at Navesink. This is literally Whitman’s thoughts as he looks out on the New York Bay. So far, we have a man metaphorically looking out on his approaching future and literally looking out on a bay. I think we’re ready to look at the actual poem now. “Then last of all” (1) denotes finality, finale, end, conclusion, which I take to mean the conclusion of the day and this subsection of poems.“Caught from these shores, this hill” (1) refers to the sea-side mountain of Navesink, which is an entrance to New York Bay. “Of you O tides,” (2) the tides are the only “you” in the poem, and are the source of power, mystery, and are approaching the speaker, catching him “from these shores, this hill” (1). “The mystic human meaning:” (2) is a phrase modifying the “you” as in “O tides” and therefore defines the tides as a mystery, which the speaker doesn’t understand, but recognizes its meaning, its importance for him and all human kind. “Only by law of you,” (3) indicates human meaning comes from an inhuman, mystical, natural force. “Your swell and ebb,” (3) are traits of the tide and serve as further proof “you” is indeed the tides. “Enclosing me the same,” (3) is basically the speaker saying “I don’t understand it, but it’s unstoppable, so I might as well deal with it.” “The brain that shapes, the voice that chants this song” (4) closes the poem without trying to identify the “mystic[al] human meaning” (2). Bottom line: Whitman is saying, “The mystical human meaning is part of my life. It has enclosed me, invaded my thoughts and inspired me to form and sing a song about it. My song doesn’t try to explain the meaning; I don’t understand it. I’m simply writing of its existence and inevitability.” This poem is a musing about unanswerable questions and the sense of awe those mysteries invoke in the poet. It fits perfectly in a section of poetry about a poet who is rapidly approaching his seventieth birthday--and, eventually, death--and has questions he can't answer.