After surmounting threescore and ten,
With all their chances, changes, losses, sorrows,
My parents’ deaths, the vagaries of my life, the many tearing
passions of me, the war of ‘63 and ‘4,
As some old broken soldier, after a long, hot, wearying march, or
as haply after battle,
At twilight, hobbling, answering yet to company roll-call, Here, with vital voice,
Reporting yet, saluting yet the Officer over all.
Whitman's reference to his age as "threescore and ten" may be a nod to his hero, Abraham Lincoln, who used similar language in his famous Gettysburg Address. This is further supported by his reference to the Civil War, "the war of '63 and '4." Tired, old, yet still "vital," Whitman proudly proclaims that he is "Here," if not to the people of the world that may have forgotten and dismissed an old man, but to God, "the Officer over all."
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