“Song of Myself” by Whitman and “Success is Counted Sweetest” Analysis

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The two poems, Song of Myself by Walt Whitman and Success is Counted Sweetest by Emily Dickinson, use metaphorical language to express their feelings, but their philosophical adages differ. Song of Myself focuses on contemporary issues, such as the civil war, and the author’s painful experiences. The poem also acknowledges freedom as the ultimate symbol of democracy that grows everywhere. On the other hand, Success is Counted Sweetest teaches individuals that victory is sweeter for those who never succeed, as those who always win do not comprehend its significance. The two poems have the same style but differ in their philosophical messages.

Table of Content

Song of Myself is one of the well-known poems of Walt Whitman that could be found in the books. This poem has been created depicting the contemporary issues with regard to the civil war, which has taken place in the United States and other American states (Britannica Online Encyclopedia). As an analysis of the poem, it concerns the author’s awakening, extreme and painful suffering and his feelings beyond comprehension in a variety of arduous situations, which have taken place around him. Moreover, he acknowledges the freedom, as the grass is the ultimate symbol of democracy that grows everywhere: “This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is, This the common air that bathes the globe” (17). Henceforth, the use of imagery, rhythm and metaphorical language adds spices, colors, connotative meaning and/or symbolism to the flow of the poem.

Success is Counted Sweetest is the last poem, which has been published during Emily Dickinson’s time. She had written the poem with an aim at teaching every individual to learn that people who have not triumphed are the ones who have a strong or inward desire for the victory. Victory is sweet for the people who never succeed; people who always win do not comprehend the significance of it: ‘Success is counted sweetest, By those who ne’er succeed’ (67). Thus, the poem describes a battle, the triumph over death. Henceforth, as an analysis of the two poems, both the authors use metaphorical languages in expressing their feelings; thus, their styles are both the same. However, their philosophical adages vary, as the first poem concerns the national issues while the latter is about an individual’s feelings.

Cited Works

  1. “Song of Myself.” princeton.edu. February 10, 2009. <http://www.princeton.edu/~batke/logr/log_026.html>
  2. “Success is Counted Sweetest.” poetry.archive.com. February 10, 2009. <http://www.poetry-archive.com/d/success_is_counted_sweetest.html>
  3. Whitman, Walt. “Song of Myself.” Babylon Dictionary and Translation Software

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“Song of Myself” by Whitman and “Success is Counted Sweetest” Analysis. (2016, Jun 13). Retrieved from


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