• I think I could turn and live with animals,
• So Placid and self – Contain’ d
• I Stand and look at them long and long.
• The poet sees that human beings suffer from many
faults they lack in many virtues. The poet doesn’t find
their company enjoyable. Then he looks at animals.
He sees that animals have many virtues that men
lack so badly .He sees that animals remain calm and
quiet .Animals are self-contained and don’t depend
on the company of others. These qualities of animals
fill the poet with wonder. He stands near them and
keeps looking at them for a long, long time
• They do not sweat and whine about their
• They do not lie awake in the dark and
weep for their sins,
• They do not make me sick discussing their
duty to God.
• Comparing animals with human beings, the poet
says that animals don’t remain in a state of anxiety
they don’t grumble over their condition. They don’t
spend their nights lying awake. They don’t have to
weep over their sins in the dark. Animals don’t
commit any sins. So they don’t have to weep in the
dark. They don’t have to lie awake at night. Usually
people keep talking about their duty to God. But
they forget all about their duty to God’s beings.
Such a talk makes the poet sick. He says that
animals don’t indulge in such hypocritical talk.
• Not one is dissatisfied, not one is
demented with the mania of owning things,
• Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind
that lived thousands of years ago,
• Not one is respectable or unhappy over
the whole earth.
Continuing with the comparison between animals and
men, Whitman says that not even a single animal is
dissatisfied with its condition. On the contrary, every
man remains forever dissatisfied and unhappy.
There is not a single animal that is mad with the
mania of owning things. But every man is mad in the
race of possessing material things. No animal has to
kneel or bow to another. No one has to kneel before
those of their kind who had lived thousands of years
ago. And there is no animal who is sad or unhappy
over the whole earth. No one is regretful because
they have not committed any wrong or sin.
So they show their relations to me and I accept
They bring me tokens of myself, they evince
them plainly in their possession.
I wonder where they get those tokens,
Did I pass that way huge times ago and
negligently drop them?
The poet sees that animals have the same qualities
that he has. Like him, they too look happy, calm
and contented . There is much in the poet that
corresponds with the nature of animals. He says
that he had perhaps passed that way a long time
back and dropped some of his tokens The animals
picked those tokens and kept them in there
possession. The poet means to say that he shares
with animals their simplicity, innocence and