Study Guide

Song of the Open Road Section 13

By Walt Whitman

Section 13

  • "Allons!" again—only this time the speaker is encouraging us toward something that has neither a beginning nor an end.
  • He's also encouraging us to endure a lot, to take on days of walking and nights of resting. Well, that last part doesn't sound so bad.
  • Then he calls for everyone to get together in this traveling, "to merge all in the travel they tend to" (171). He wants them to get going "in the start of superior journeys" (172), to see nothing but the things that they can get close to and pass along their way, nothing but the road that stretches out before them, waiting.
  • He wants them to approach every "being" they see on this road, though he lets us know this with the use of some funky syntax: "To see no being, not God's or any, but you also go thither" (176).
  • He wants them to enjoy every possession, though without buying it or working for it. This includes a feast, both as a concept and as an actual meal: "abstracting the feast, yet not abstracting one particle of it" (177).
  • He wants these travelers to take the best part of a farm and a villa, along with the blessings of a married couple as they go. Throw in some fruits and flowers while they're at it.
  • As they go through small ("compact") cities, they should take their use of those places, carrying (figuratively speaking) the buildings and streets with them when they go (180).
  • They should also collect the minds and hearts of the men they encounter in these travels. And even if they leave their lovers behind, they should still carry them (we guess in their memories) when they travel.
  • Wait—we thought everyone was on this trip. Wouldn't that include these lovers, too? Our speaker doesn't really explain that contradiction.
  • He does say that the universe is like a road, though, or a collection of many roads. Far out, man.

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