The poet speaks to a new admirer, warning him, "I am surely far different from what you suppose." His faithfulness and tolerance are but a facade. Is the person "advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man," or is this mere "maya" or illusion?
Whitman knew the complexity of love and the relationship between master and disciple. He warns his disciples that he is very different from their image of him. This warning is the only positive statement in this poem; the rest is made up of rhetorical questions dealing with the poet's "facade."