Walt Whitman: The Bible in Poetry

Walt Whitman is regarded as one of America’s most significant nineteenth-century poets. Whitman references the Bible in several of his works. Evident in an early work, “Shirval: A Tale of Jerusalem,” is Luke 7:11–16, the account of Jesus raising the widow’s dead son. In an 1892 essay entitled, “The Bible as Poetry,” Whitman wrote, “How many ages and generations have brooded and wept and agonized over this book.

What untellable joys and ecstasies—what support to martyrs at the stake—from it. . . . To what myriads has it been the shore and rock of safety—the refuge from driving tempest and wreck!Translated in all languages, how it has united this diverse world.”

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