Good-Bye My Fancy: by Walt Whitman - Summary & Analysis

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Good-Bye my Fancy!
Farewell dear mate, dear love!
I’m going away, I know not where,
Or to what fortune, or whether I may ever see you again
So Good-bye my Fancy.
Now for my last-let me look back a moment;
The slower fainter ticking of the clock is in me,
Exit, nightfall, and soon the heart-thud stopping.
Long have we lived, joy’d caress’d together;
Delightfull-now separation-Good-bye ray Fancy.
Yet let me not be too hasty,
Long indeed have we lived, slept, filtere’d, become really blended into one;
Then if we die we die together, (yes, we’ll remain one,)
If we go anywhere we’ll go together to meet what happens.
May-be we’ll be better off and blither, and learn something,
May-be it is yourself now really ushering me to the true songs, (who knows?)
May-be it is you the mortal knob really undoing, turning-so now finally,
Good-bye-and hail! my Fancy.


      Summary. Good-Bye My Fancy is a poem of eighteen lines written a year before the poet’s death. Probably he had a premonition of his imminent death. First he bids good-bye to his “Fancy” or the imaginative faculty of the poet or live consciousness. Thereafter he realizes the impossibility of all severance of the soul and its inherent qualities and hence welcomes his Fancy, for another sojourn together in the life after death.

      The poet deals with his imaginative faculty as his loving mate and comrade. Death is imminent and the poet is not aware of the destination. But he fondly remembers the life together.

Long have we lived, joyed caressed together
Delightful-now separation-Good-Bye my Fancy

      Then the poet decides that it is impossible for them to be separate from each other. If they are to go anywhere they must still go there together. The poet believes in the immortality of the soul and therefore of a certain life after death. The poet is optimistic about this that the future life will be better and happier. He will learn many things thanks to the association of his faculty.

      Critical Analysis. Whitman has written many poems on death. This is one such and having been written barely a year before his actual death it has an additional importance. The contemplative mood is clearly manifest in all the lines of this poem and the pathos revealed is touching. The heart beat becomes fainter and fainter which he describes as the slower ticking of the clock within him. Soon the heart thud will be stopping. As in the poem, The Last Invocation, the optimism of the poet is fully revealed. He faces death with calmness and self-confidence.

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