Pioneers! O Pioneers!
by Walt Whitman
Pioneers! O Pioneers! Admiration Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers! (7-8)
Already, early on in the poem, our speaker establishes the importance of these pioneer dudes (and dudettes). We mean, everyone else depends on them. How much more important can you get? And not only are they admirable for being so important, but they're young and sinewy to boot.
We detachments steady throwing,
Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains steep,
Conquering, holding, daring, venturing as we go the unknown ways,
Pioneers! O pioneers! (21-24)
This stanza is basically a list of daring feats of bravery and strength, and those daring feats are nothing if not admirable. Our speaker marvels at the pioneers' ability to conquer tough physical terrain. That word "steady" reinforces the sense of their fortitude in the face of risks and dangers. Maybe even more important, though, is the fact that they're venturing into the unknown. Our speaker is all about leaving the past behind to step into the mysterious future.
O resistless restless race!
O beloved race in all! O my breast aches with tender love for all!
O I mourn and yet exult, I am rapt with love for all,
Pioneers! O pioneers! (37-40)
O! O! Shmoop's gonna let you in on a little secret: anytime you see an O!, that's usually a pretty good bet that the speaker is admiring something. Plus, you know, he keeps saying love. All right, dude, we get it already.