Shut Not Your Doors: Poem - Summary & Analysis

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Shut not your doors to me proud libraries,
For that which was lacking on all your well-fill’d shelves, yet needed most, I bring,
Forth from the war emerging, a book I have made,
The words of my book nothing, the drift of it every thing,
A book separate, not link’d with the rest nor felt by the intellect,
But you ye untold latencies will thrill to every page.


      Introduction. Shut Not Your Doors is a very short fragment of fewer than seventy words put in six small lines. There is a sort of egotistic boast in it although the poet has some of the qualities that make him merit adequate praise and esteem.

      Summary. The poet calls upon the well-known libraries, having in their vaults and shelves plenty of books written by reputed authors, not to shut their doors to his book which should be considered worthy of being preserved in them for its quality of “drift” and not for its “words”.

      Its “latencies will thrill to every page”. His book has been inspired by the Civil War and it is bound to stir the feelings and emotions of the readers.

Forth from the war emerging, a book I have made
The words of my book nothing, the drift of it everything.
A book separate, not linked with the rest nor feIt by the intellect.

      Critical Analysis. Although the libraries may be justifiably proud for stocking the masterpieces of famous authors and thinkers they should not keep his book of poems out of them lest they should be found lacking in this respect. The poet proudly proclaims that the book he has written merits a place in the libraries because it has its own individual qualities. It may not appeal to the intellect but it will certainly stir the emotion. As a champion of democratic sense of values and fighter against the snobbery of orthodox people he holds an important position, among great poets of the world. Whitman has a fairly good mastery of words, but it is the subject matter that he values more.

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