Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

To a Foil'd European Revolutionaire


Courage yet, my brother or my sister!
Keep on--Liberty is to be subserv'd whatever occurs;
That is nothing that is quell'd by one or two failures, or any
number of failures,
Or by the indifference or ingratitude of the people, or by any
unfaithfulness,
Or the show of the tushes of power, soldiers, cannon, penal statutes.

What we believe in waits latent forever through all the continents,
Invites no one, promises nothing, sits in calmness and light, is
positive and composed, knows no discouragement,
Waiting patiently, waiting its time.

(Not songs of loyalty alone are these,
But songs of insurrection also,
For I am the sworn poet of every dauntless rebel the world over,
And he going with me leaves peace and routine behind him,
And stakes his life to be lost at any moment.)

The battle rages with many a loud alarm and frequent advance and retreat,
The infidel triumphs, or supposes he triumphs,
The prison, scaffold, garrote, handcuffs, iron necklace and
leadballs do their work,
The named and unnamed heroes pass to other spheres,
The great speakers and writers are exiled, they lie sick in distant lands,
The cause is asleep, the strongest throats are choked with their own blood,
The young men droop their eyelashes toward the ground when they meet;
But for all this Liberty has not gone out of the place, nor the
infidel enter'd into full possession.

When liberty goes out of a place it is not the first to go, nor the
second or third to go,
It waits for all the rest to go, it is the last.

When there are no more memories of heroes and martyrs,
And when all life and all the souls of men and women are discharged
from any part of the earth,
Then only shall liberty or the idea of liberty be discharged from
that part of the earth,
And the infidel come into full possession.

Then courage European revolter, revoltress!
For till all ceases neither must you cease.

I do not know what you are for, (I do not know what I am for myself,
nor what any thing is for,)
But I will search carefully for it even in being foil'd,
In defeat, poverty, misconception, imprisonment--for they too are great.

Did we think victory great?
So it is--but now it seems to me, when it cannot be help'd, that
defeat is great,
And that death and dismay are great.

Walt Whitman

    Book 1 - Inscriptions

    Book II

    Book III

    Book IV - Children of Adam

    Book V - Calamus

    Book VI

    Book VII

    Book VIII

    Book IX

    Book X

    Book XI

    Book XII

    Book XIII

    Book XIV

    Book XV

    Book XVI

    Book XVII - Birds of Passage

    Book XVIII

    Book XIX - Sea-Drift

    Book XX - By the Roadside

    Book XXI - Drum Taps

    Book XXII - Memories of President Lincoln

    Book - XXIII

    Book XXIV - Autumn Rivulets

    Book XXV

    Book XXVI

    Book XXVII

    Book XXVIII

    Book XXIX

    Book XXX - Whispers of Heavenly Death

    Book XXXI

    Book XXXII - From Noon to Starry Night

    Book XXXIII - Songs of Parting

    Book XXXIV - Sands at Seventy

    Book XXXV - Good-bye My Fancy

    Sorry, no summary available yet.