Literary Meditations

A Mind's Journey

‘When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer’ by Walt Whitman

  • Author: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
  • Title: ‘When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer’
  • Year: 1865
  • Pic: Maxfield Parrish, Stars, 1926.


“When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.”


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