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Whitmans To Thee Old Cause To thee old cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause, Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea, Deathless throughout the ages,

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Presentation on theme: "Whitmans To Thee Old Cause To thee old cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause, Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea, Deathless throughout the ages,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Whitmans To Thee Old Cause To thee old cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause, Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea, Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands, After a strange sad war, great war for thee, (I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought, for thee,) These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee. (A war O soldiers not for itself alone, Far, far more stood silently waiting behind, now to advance in this book.) Thou orb of many orbs! Thou seething principle! thou well-kept, latent germ! thou centre! Around the idea of thee the war revolving, With all its angry and vehement play of causes, (With vast results to come for thrice a thousand years,) These recitatives for thee,my book and the war are one, Merged in its spirit I and mine, as the contest hinged on thee, As a wheel on its axis turns, this book unwitting to itself, Around the idea of thee. Published 1871, 1881 In Leaves of Grass, Whitman, Walt. To Thee Old Cause. Whitman Poetry and Prose. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., Print. Explication by Lisa Riva

2 The Cause Beginning in mid-seventeenth century America, the term was used to describe civil and religious liberties. Critic Clarence Gohdes explains that the meaning of the cause would have been clear to Whitmans contemporaries. In a notebook entry that may have served as a manuscript for the poem, Whitman wrote: the good old cause is that in all its diversities, in all lands, at all times, under all circumstances,which promulgates liberty, justice, the cause of the people as against infidels and tyrants. To thee old cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause, Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea, Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands, After a strange sad war, great war for thee, (I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought, for thee,) These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee. (A war O soldiers not for itself alone, Far, far more stood silently waiting behind, now to advance in this book.) Thou orb of many orbs! Thou seething principle! thou well-kept, latent germ! thou centre! Around the idea of thee the war revolving, With all its angry and vehement play of causes, (With vast results to come for thrice a thousand years,) These recitatives for thee,my book and the war are one, Merged in its spirit I and mine, as the contest hinged on thee, As a wheel on its axis turns, this book unwitting to itself, Around the idea of thee. Gohdes, Clarence. Whitman and the Good Old Cause. American Literature (1962): JSTOR. Web. 17 Sept

3 Form Stanza 1 (7 lines) & Stanza 2 (2 lines) Introduction of 3 pieces to the puzzle (cause, war, poet) Stanza 3 (2 lines) & Stanza 4 (7 lines) Fusion of 3 pieces to the puzzle (cause, war, poet) Form of the poem is a visual representation of Whitmans theory about the cyclical nature of the cause. Like the cause, the poem begins one way and changes or adapts as it grows, then returns to its original shape. To thee old cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause, Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea, Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands, After a strange sad war, great war for thee, (I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought, for thee,) These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee. (A war O soldiers not for itself alone, Far, far more stood silently waiting behind, now to advance in this book.) Thou orb of many orbs! Thou seething principle! thou well-kept, latent germ! thou centre! Around the idea of thee the war revolving, With all its angry and vehement play of causes, (With vast results to come for thrice a thousand years,) These recitatives for thee,my book and the war are one, Merged in its spirit I and mine, as the contest hinged on thee, As a wheel on its axis turns, this book unwitting to itself, Around the idea of thee.

4 Juxtaposition In his descriptions of both the cause and the wars that result from its being upheld, Whitman juxtaposes positive and negative adjectives. To thee old cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause, Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea, Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands, After a strange sad war, great war for thee, (I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought, for thee,) These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee. (A war O soldiers not for itself alone, Far, far more stood silently waiting behind, now to advance in this book.) Thou orb of many orbs! Thou seething principle! thou well-kept, latent germ! thou centre! Around the idea of thee the war revolving, With all its angry and vehement play of causes, (With vast results to come for thrice a thousand years,) These recitatives for thee,my book and the war are one, Merged in its spirit I and mine, as the contest hinged on thee, As a wheel on its axis turns, this book unwitting to itself, Around the idea of thee.

5 Use of Parentheses Whitmans use of parenthetically separate statements in this poem seems to have two functions: In stanzas 1 and 4, the parentheses mark a change in the speakers voice. No longer voicing just the concerns of a poet, these statements show the concerns of a politician. In stanza 3, the parentheses refer to a shift in audience. The poet does not simply address all people in this part of the poem, but instead addresses soldiers. The use of parentheses, therefore, marks shifts in either speaker or audience in To Thee Old Cause. To thee old cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause, Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea, Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands, After a strange sad war, great war for thee, (I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought, for thee,) These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee. (A war O soldiers not for itself alone, Far, far more stood silently waiting behind, now to advance in this book.) Thou orb of many orbs! Thou seething principle! thou well-kept, latent germ! thou centre! Around the idea of thee the war revolving, With all its angry and vehement play of causes, (With vast results to come for thrice a thousand years,) These recitatives for thee,my book and the war are one, Merged in its spirit I and mine, as the contest hinged on thee, As a wheel on its axis turns, this book unwitting to itself, Around the idea of thee.

6 References to Leaves of Grass Whitman refers directly to the book (Leaves of Grass) in which this poem appears. He does so not only to fuse together the roles of the soldier and the poet, but also to emphasize the connection between his lifes work and the American cause. To thee old cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause, Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea, Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands, After a strange sad war, great war for thee, (I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought, for thee,) These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee. (A war O soldiers not for itself alone, Far, far more stood silently waiting behind, now to advance in this book.) Thou orb of many orbs! Thou seething principle! thou well-kept, latent germ! thou centre! Around the idea of thee the war revolving, With all its angry and vehement play of causes, (With vast results to come for thrice a thousand years,) These recitatives for thee,my book and the war are one, Merged in its spirit I and mine, as the contest hinged on thee, As a wheel on its axis turns, this book unwitting to itself, Around the idea of thee.


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