It cannot fail the young man who died and was buried,
Nor the young woman who died and was put by his side,
Nor the little child that peep'd in at the door, and then drew
Back and was never seen again,

from Walt Whitman – Song of Myself on Rap Genius

Meaning

Walt Whitman shows two of his characteristic traits here.

First, the use of anaphora as a rhetorical technique (the repeating of Nor). Allen Ginsberg was a big aficionado of Walt Whitman, and you can easily notice a very similar rhymeless form of anaphora used in the opening lines of “Howl.”

We can also see here, and throughout “Song of Myself,” one of Whitman’s favorite themes: the emphasis on individuality in the context of a larger social catalogue.

To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman and leave a comment on the lyrics box