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O Captain! My Captain!


Art Song | Baritone Voice & Piano | 5′

Program Note:

Oh Captain! My Captain! was my very first art song! Written originally for conductor and baritone Zeke Fetrow, this piece has had performances by many different singers – each performer bringing a new and rich interpretation to the table.


Baritone Voice & Piano

Text by Walt Whitman, public domain
5 minutes
​Vocal Range: B3-E4



Perusal Score


O Captain! My Captain! [abridged]

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
[O] the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
[For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,]
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

[My Captain does not answer,] his lips are pale and still,
My father [does not feel my arm, he] has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

– Walt Whitman (1891)