Whitman says that the reader "throbbest life and pride and love" in the same way as the poet does; therefore, he offers "the following chants" (Leaves of Grass) to him.
This poem was added to Leaves of Grass in 1881. Even though, like "To You," it is only two lines long, it is important because it conveys Whitman's basic attitude toward his reader. The poet identifies himself with the reader. He emphasizes their common humanity.
"Thou Reader" marks the culmination of the Inscription poems. It is notable for its ardor and intensity which, being expressed with such meaningful brevity, make it a fitting prelude to Leaves of Grass.