O Captain! My Captain!

Lincoln’s assassination inspired Walt Whitman to write this poem of mourning. It is one of the few poems in which he used a conventional meter and rhyme scheme. His tribute became extremely popular at the time of its first publication, in 1865, and it was the only poem of Whitman’s to be anthologized during his lifetime. In 1890, ailing and in need of funds, Whitman was induced to write out this copy of his famous poem for the distinguished Philadelphia physician, poet, and novelist Weir Mitchell, who paid him $100 for it.