Walt Whitman's Song of Myself opens with these lines:

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

When the poet says as good belongs to you, is as good an old-fashioned way of saying as well?

  • I think it means also. – Sander Jun 24 '15 at 14:29
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    It means "insofar as it is good". Whitman is (I think deliberately) ambiguous as to whether this is "insofar as the atom is good" or "insofar as it is good that it belongs to me (or you)". – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 24 '15 at 14:37
  • Could this be an erosion of 'as good as' meaning 'almost', 'may as well'. As in 'as much as it belongs to me, it belongs to you' or 'every atom belonging to me may as well belong to you'. I am not familiar with this poem and can't tell from this excerpt. – amblina Jun 24 '15 at 16:24
  • I think it means as well or also. And I think it is parallel to German genau so gut ( as well). – rogermue Jun 25 '15 at 6:43

If you take the greater meaning these passages, I believe the meaning of "as good" here is simply "equally". The general message of the surrounding passages is speaking to the connectivity and bond between all things, that everything is born out of something else, and that everything requires and shares the same basic elements to exist. He specifically uses "atom" again shortly after to illustrate this connectivity. His own flesh and the atoms of his blood having come from the earth, his parents and their parents before them.


'Belong' is a linking verb, at least in Whitman's day. You can use adjectives with linking verbs. D. Thomas "Do not go gentle" - Go is a linking verb. The answer above is right on, and I need not add to it. Transcendental romanticism

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