James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

April 15

O Captain! My Captain!

By Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

  • Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theater, Washington, by John Wilkes Booth on April 15, 1865.

  • O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;

    The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;

    The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

    While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

    But O heart! heart! heart!

    O the bleeding drop of red,

    Where on the deck my Captain lies,

    Fallen cold and dead!

    O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

    Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;

    For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;

    For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

    Here Captain! dear father!

    This arm beneath your head;

    It is some dream that on the deck,

    You’ve fallen cold and dead.

    My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;

    My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will:

    The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;

    From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won:

    Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!

    But I, with mournful tread,

    Walk the deck my Captain lies,

    Fallen cold and dead.