There are two lines which disturbs me a little on One's self I sing from Whitman. It reads:

One's self I sing, a simple separate person,

Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.

Does it mean that behind democracy is an En-Masse behaviour? So, he sings to a person with no face, not to a real person but to an abstract one (indeed an average one). Am I wrong?

  • I think that, generally, when Whitman writes "I sing X" he means "I sing about X", not "I sing to X". The lines you do not quote make it clear that he interprets "self" broadly. to encompass within himself all modern humanity. Jun 16, 2018 at 17:01
  • @kimchilover thanks, but the conclusion is the same, he sings about X as if X were everyone
    – user1630
    Jun 16, 2018 at 17:36
  • I don't see this being difficult to understand: he sings of both the individual person and of the people; why on earth is that disturbing? Jun 19, 2018 at 9:33
  • En-Masse because he sees the people massed together with heft and weight; and not only and simply as persons, individuals and seperate; he's saying that he emphasises both. Jun 19, 2018 at 9:37
  • Demos by the way, means people. Jun 19, 2018 at 9:38


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