Walt Whitman is considered one of America’s greatest poets. During his lifetime, Whitman wrote hundreds of poems about life, love and democracy, among many others. In particular, Whitman’s poetry reflects the spirit of the age in which he lived, the Civil War. In taking a closer look at one of his most renowned and brilliant pieces, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”, three particular themes are observed; his love for nature, the cycle of life, as represented by both life and death, and rebirth.
This poem was written around the end of the Civil War and after Abraham Lincoln’s death. As he was the president of the United States at that time, he is considered one of the most important leaders in America. Since he was elected as the president of the United States, he did many things for his country. He led the United States during the American Civil War and gave his best effort in leading America to a better future, but he did not have much time to experience his achievement. The American Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, six days before he died on April 15, 1865 (“Abraham Lincoln”). He was shot by the actor John Wilkes Booth while attending a performance at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., on the evening of April 14, 1865 (“Abraham Lincoln”). President Lincoln only had less than a week to savor the victory. On April 20th, his body lay in state at the Capitol, and the next day it began a 1,600-mile journey by rail across the landscape and through major cities on its way to Springfield, Illinois, for burial on May 4th (“Abraham Lincoln”). It is no surprise that having been personally involved with the victims of the Civil War, Whitman himself had very strong feelings on the subject and extreme admiration toward the man that revolutionized America’s history. When the Civil War broke out, Whitman made visits to wounded soldiers at New York-area hospitals and in December of 1862, he traveled to Washington, D.C.to care for
Cited: "Abraham Lincoln." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. Web/ 12 October 2012 "Elegy." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2012. Web. 15 October 2012. "Whitman, Walt." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 2012. Encyclopedia.com. Web.12 October 2012. Whitman, Walt. “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Poets.org. Web. 13 October 2012.