Walt Whitman wrote “O Captain! My Captain!” in response to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, which occurred just five days after the Confederacy surrendered and the American Civil War was won. Whitman’s elegy for Lincoln first appeared in The Saturday Press on November 4, 1865, then appeared again later that year in Sequel to Drum-Taps, a collection of Whitman’s Civil War poetry. “O Captain! My Captain!” features a speaker who addresses the captain of a ship. This ship is sailing into port after a perilous ocean voyage, and a jubilant crowd celebrates from the shore. Yet the captain has suffered an untimely death, and the speaker finds himself mourning despite the triumphantly blaring bugles and bright ringing bells. The scenario set forth in the poem serves as an extended metaphor for the United States of America. The ship symbolizes the state, which Lincoln—the “captain”—has successfully navigated through the rough seas of the Civil War. “O Captain! My Captain!” was Whitman’s best-known poem in his own lifetime. Its popularity was revived in the twentieth century after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the poem was later immortalized in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society.