Title: you know how
Creator: Walt Whitman
Date: 1855 or before
Whitman Archive ID: loc.00142
Source: Notebook LC #86 | The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1842–1937, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the notebooks, see our statement of editorial policy.
Editorial note: Because it comprises material that Whitman used in the first edition of Leaves of Grass, this notebook must date to sometime before mid-1855.
Emory Holloway has posited several connections between passages in this notebook and specific lines in the 1855 edition. Although some of these connections are dubious, the notebook's series of drafts about the effects of music are clearly related to what ultimately became section 26 of "Song of Myself." See Emory Holloway, ed., The Uncollected Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1921), 2:83–86.
Contributors to digital file: Ashley Price, Sandy Byrd, Kirsten Clawson, Nicole Gray, Kenneth M. Price, and Brett Barney
As ^you know how the one brain includes those diverging and converging variety of beautiful wonders the perceptions or senses, and —^includes also what we call mind and the subtle faculties ^processes of thought and reason and causality, with ^also and an infinite variety else, so diverging and converging as to either enfold ^wind its fingers around the whole world or analyze make much of the finest thread of silk,—in some suc or wind its fingers round the world.—
for instance heard ^been warned through your h whole life, week days and Sundays, of ^to pay your duty devoir to God.—I know of no such thing.—I know if it were the main matter, as under the name of [pray?] ^Religion the original and main matter. Really there is no such thing.—What is called such, even accepting the most florid andYou have ^
?large description of it, is but one little item in the illimitable sum of that boundless ^account budget of which a man must should be ready to pay ^always balancing with his own sould
I can be
I can be I know nothing more melancholy dismal and bleak and shrunken ^ and shrivelled than
I have seen corpses sunken an shrunken and shrivelled—I have seen ^dismal mannikins of abortions, still‑births ? hideous
Of the Poet.
From each word, as from a womb, spring twenty babes that shall grow ^to giants and beget a larger and more surperber breeds upon the earth.
Consecration of priests in Trinity Church—interlinking of hands.
The life car—the ? to shoot the rope over the ship—the ? on which the life car runs—and the process of passing them ashore
He drinks up quickly All terms, all languages, and words. meanings.—To his curbless and bottomless powers, they are as be like the small ponds of rain water to the migrating herds of buffalo when they spread over occupy square miles and who make the earth ^[illegible] miles square. look like a creeping spread.—Look See! he has only passed this way, and they are drained dry.
You break your arm, and a good surgeon sets it at and cures you complete; but nor no cure ever [illegible] avails for an organic disease of the heart.
Most of the reforms of the world are Your mighty religious and political improvements—good enough as far as they go—are still but partial reforms— a good arm— back—a well shaped foot—a fine head of hair—a a good nice ear for music—or a ^peculiar faculty for engineering.
I would give you the entire health, ^both of mind spirit and flesh, the life of ^grace and strength and action, from which as from all else flows, as from an a never-failing spring.— It What I give you, I [illegible]know, cannot be argued about, and will not attract men's enthusiasms and interests
[illegible] ^ armed great winged broad‑ wide‑winged strengths and unknown ardors and terrible extasies—putting me through the paces flights of all the passions—dilating me beyond time and space— air——startling me with the overture toof some unnamable horror—calmly sailing me all day on a broad bright river ^with lazy slapping waves——stabbing my heart with myriads of forked distractions more furious than hail or lightning—lulling me drowsily with honeyed opium morphine—writhing tight'ning the coils fakes of death about my throat, and awakening me again to know, by that comparison, the only most positive wonder in the world, and that's what we call life.shall uncage in my breast a thousand
I want that untied tenor, clean and fresh as the Creation, whose vast pure volume floods my soul. I want that tenor ^[large and fresh as the creation?] the [illegible] parting of whose ^[dark?] and orbed mouth shall [illegible] for me ^lift behind over my head the sluices of Paradise all ^the delight in the universe. that is I want that tenor, large and fresh as the creation, the ^orbed parting of whose orbed mouth shall lift over my head the sluices [illegible] of all the delight there is. yet discovered for our race. —I want the soprano that ^lithely overleaps the stars, and convulses me like the love‑grip of her in whose arms I lielay [illegible]last night.—I want a sublime an infinite chorus and orchestrium, wide as the orbit of the farthest stars Uranus ? reliable as immortality falling in truly true as the hours of ^the day, and night, and filling my capacityies to receive, as thoroughly as the sea fills its scooped out valleys. sands.— I want the chanted Hymn whose tremendous sentiment,
We I want the a sublime ? of Hymn out some vast chorus and orchestrium, whose strain is wide as the world, orbits of suns, reliable pure as Jesus and sweet as the kisses of Hea[ven?]^[runs out surpass?] immortality, and filling all my capacity to receive as ^[illegible] the sea fills scooped out valleys. I want the boundless tenor that which swell clean and fresh as the Creation—whose vast pure volume floods my soul. I want the soprano that that thrills me like kisses of Heaven, that that ^over⹀leaps unfaltering to the stars.
For this huge harmony have you nothing to give us but one feeble note, and that a false one?
The ox is too dtired—he rests standing
The attraction of gravity is the law under which you make your house plumb but that's not what the law is specially made for
Acc't of the accident to Charly Phillips
do not ^more than symbolize the reflection of the reflection, from of the spark from of a some tthrown off a spark, from a some coal in the some [illegible] emanation of some of those pettier attributes of God.—which we out the greatest Even these the greatest of the [illegible] great men of the world, can in their happier ^best moments
Love, Reality, and Immortality and are the triune reins wherewith the Driver of the universe
delicious as the kisses of God.—
All the ^ computation vastness of Astronomy—and space—systems of suns+++ [illegible] carried [illegible] in to ^their computation to the very bound farthest that figures will are able or that the broadest ? mathematical faculty can hold—and then multiplied in geometrical progression ten thousand million fold
even Though to this reflection the dazzle of unnumbered
All such vastness and reality does not satisfy the soul and shout worthy
The air which furnishes me the breath to speak is subtle and boundless—but what is it compared th to the things it serves me to speak—the meanings—