| Quote #4
Swift wind! Space! My Soul! Now I know it is true what I guessed at;
My ties and ballasts leave me . . . . I travel . . . . I sail . . . . my elbows rest in the sea-gaps,
Comparing himself to a boat that unmoors from its "ties and ballasts," Whitman makes a metaphorical journey across America and other parts of the world. (Even though he's still dreaming in the grass). Every line seems to be set in a new place. Whitman inspired later poets who were known for their travels, like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
| Quote #5
I tell not the fall of Alamo . . . . not one escaped to tell the fall of Alamo,
Hear now the tale of a jetblack sunrise,
In this section Whitman sounds like a passionate patriot who is outraged by the mistreatment of American prisoners by the Mexicans in the Mexican-American War. Whitman was not known to be especially opposed to war, but he can't abide when people don't play by the rules. In other sections he praises the glory of victory and defeat, but here his tone is somber.
| Quote #6
I tramp a perpetual journey,
Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
Whitman had read the essays of the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, who praised the American virtue of "self-reliance." Self-reliance means thinking for yourself and not taking your cues from what other people do or from what is written in books. It has its roots in the American tradition of independence and innovation. These lines perfectly capture the spirit of Emersonian self-reliance.