It's easier to interpret these lines by reading the entire poem by Walt Whitman.
"I SIT and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all
oppression and shame;
I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with
themselves, remorseful after deeds done;
I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying,
neglected, gaunt, desperate;
I see the wife misused by her husband—I see the treacherous seducer
of young women;
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be
hid—I see these sights on the earth;
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I see martyrs and
I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors casting lots who
shall be kill'd, to preserve the lives of the rest;
I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon
laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
All these—All the meanness and agony without end, I sitting, look
See, hear, and am silent."
Is being silent the logical outcome of Whitman's lamenting the evils of the world?
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