Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
Section 20 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
It is not you alone, nor I alone,
Not a few races, nor a few generations, nor a few centuries,
It is that each came, or comes, or shall come, from its due emission, without fail, either now, or then, or henceforth.
- Whitman is often thought of as an all-inclusive or "democratic" poet, and these lines are a perfect example. He doesn't divide people in individuals, races, or even generations. As far as he's concerned, all people are part of the same chain or pattern and have equal dignity.
- As context, we should mention that Whitman strongly believed in the abolition of slavery and equal rights for all people.