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Beat! Beat! Drums!

Beat! Beat! Drums!


by Walt Whitman

Beat! Beat! Drums! Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Say it out loud: So fierce you whirr and pound, you drums—so shrill you bugles blow. (7)How did you read that? Something like this, right?So fierce you whirr and pound, you drums—so shrill you...


We don't know much about our speaker, except that he's really good at giving commands. And since he's giving commands to a bunch of instruments, we can almost picture him as a conductor. But as it...


Walt Whitman does something really neat with this poem: he gives us a glimpse into some very particular, individual moments, but he also zooms out so we can see the big picture. It's hard to keep b...

Sound Check

Read this out loud, and tell us what it sounds like.So fierce you whirr and pound, you drums—so shrill you bug-les blow.With the exception of "bugles," each of these words has just one syllable....

What's Up With the Title?

You probably noticed that the title of the poem – "Beat! Beat! Drums!" is also the first half of the first line. Sure, poems do that sometimes, taking on the first line as their title. But wait a...

Calling Card

Okay, so Walt Whitman didn't invent the exclamation point, and he wasn't the first poet to use it in the opening line of a poem. But his poems include it so often that he really made it his own. He...


Once we've figured out that "Beat! Beat! Drums!" is talking about war, this poem is pretty smooth sailing. Our speaker's sentiments might not be super easy to read, but we as we get swept up in the...


In his later revision of "Beat! Beat! Drums!", Walt Whitman took out some of the lines that help us figure out what exactly us going on. He replaced "a force of armed men" with "a ruthless force,"...

Steaminess Rating

While this poem discusses a pretty adult topic – war – sex is nowhere to be found. (Kind of rare for a Whitman poem, actually!)


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