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10

Whitman was slightly closer to Lincoln than "just ... a citizen": according to David S. Reynolds in the Journal of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, he had a nodding acquaintance with the President (emphasis mine): On February 19, 1861, Whitman was among a throng of curious spectators in New York City who saw the president-elect arriving ...


6

Just for clarity, I believe the intended meaning of "savantism" in the poem title is not related to "Savant Syndrome" or terms such as "idiot savant" and "autistic savant", concepts that I believe emerged in the field of psychology towards the end of Whitman's life. I think the savantism of the title more likely refers to the cultivation of learning and ...


5

If you look at some of the pictures from the Funeral you will see that while the flags that are on vertical flag poles are flying at half mast as a mark of respect, flags that are on angled or horizontal poles, eg hanging out over streets, which cannot be 'half masted' are instead 'looped in' at the end so that they do not fly free. It isn't universal, you ...


5

From context, I'd take this to be the celestial spheres, an old cosmological idea that originated in antiquity. Briefly, each planet, including the sun and moon, where thought to inhabit their own sphere, while all stars were fixed in the outmost sphere (and God's heaven being placed beyond the stars). The spheres were invisible, but at least in the some ...


2

The since in as a month since I walk’d means 'ago'. It's a usage I haven't heard since my Northumbrian grandparents died, and I think it may have been more common up there in the North, and in Scotland, than in the rest of England. Walter Scott's novel Waverley is properly called: Waverley; Or, 'Tis Sixty Years Since. From Supplement to 'Six Months ...


1

The confusion comes from Whitman's using a (now archaic) word form. I don't know to what degree Whitman's specific choice "atomies" was standard in his time, but Whitman is generally considered a poet of the first rank, and poets are allowed to invent words and engineer novel usage. (Often, those two capabilities are marks of the greatest poets. ...


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