Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Friendship Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (section.line)
I was called by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me approaching or passing,
Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of their flesh against me as I sat,
Saw many I loved in the street, or ferry-boat, or public assembly, yet never told them a word, (lines 82-84)
Whitman was all about the physical and emotion bonds between men. In the 19th century, it wasn't uncommon for men to openly show affection between one another in the streets. Notice, however, that being friends with someone doesn't mean you tell them everything. The speaker doesn't tell his comrades about his "abrupt curious questionings," of whatever it is he means here by "a word."
Closer yet I approach you,
What thought you have of me, I had as much of you – I laid in my stores in advance,
I considered long and seriously of you before you were born. (lines 89-91)
The speaker keeps positioning himself to get closer and closer to us until – ah! – he's right next to us. He also provides a great pick-up line: "I've been thinking about you since before you were born." What a lady-killer. Or gentleman-killer.
Consider, you who peruse me, whether I may not in unknown ways be looking upon you; (line 123)
The speaker turns the tables on the reader. He's all, "You think you're reading me, but maybe I'm the one who's reading you." But don't worry: having read a lot of Whitman, we can say for sure that he won't judge you too harshly. Even if you sing really off-key songs in the shower, he'll still be your friend.