Abe Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Jesus, Ghandi, the Pope -- these are people who live or have lived their lives compassionating.
I think that Whitman's "Song of Myself" was an evolving discovery of various aspects of the human soul - as he discovers that such qualities as compassion and love are far more important than the material trappings and competitive nature of life as it spins on around him.
That's just what I think. I have gained a new respect for Walt Whitman since I've re-studied this poem, letting it step out of the shadow of my heavy handed high school english teacher - into the sunlight.
You may have also noticed I've shed the standard pictures of an ancient, alien Walt Whitman with wide face and heavy white beard - in favor of the one above. This guy, Walt Whitman (during his prime by the way) - looks like someone I can relate to - not the scragly old God-Like character we usually come across.
Song of Myself 4
by Walt Whitman
Trippers and askers surround me;
People I meet—the effect upon me of my early life, or the ward and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks, or of myself, or ill-doing, or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations;
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights, and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself.
Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am;
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary;
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head, curious what will come next;
Both in and out of the game, and watching and wondering at it.
Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders;
I have no mockings or arguments—I witness and wait.