When I Heard the Learned Astronomer

by Walt Whitman

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 the 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.




When I Heard the Learned Astronomer


Whitman, Walt

Things to Discuss:

Things to Discuss: Why did the listener become tired of the lecturer when others in the audience recieved him with such applause? What did he learn from the stars when he was alone out at night? What does the writer think about the study of astronomy? What was the message you got from reading this poem?