What arethe ‘tokens’ that the poet says he may have dropped longago, and which the animals have kept for him? Discuss this in class.(Hint: Whitman belongs to the Romantic tradition that includesRousseau and Wordsworth, which holds that civilisation has madehumans false to their own true nature. What could be the basicaspects of our nature as living beings that humans choose to ignoreor deny?
The tokenthat the poet says he might have dropped long ago, and which theanimals have kept for him, is his true nature as a human. Whilehumans came close to civilisation, they gradually moved away fromtheir true nature. The natural instincts that humans had and theinnocence with which they lived and helped each other have been leftbehind somewhere. As they got near civilisation, they chose to leavebehind the virtues of kindness, sincerity, unselfishness, joy,satisfaction, respectability, and sharing. They took to vices such asgreed, selfishness, desire to capture everything, and other suchinhuman characteristics. Animals have carried forward the realinstincts and characteristics, which the poet looks at and tries toremember where he had negligently lost his true nature.