In Whitman's Hand

Poetry Manuscripts

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[Leaf 1 recto]

Thoughts 4

Of oOwnership—As if one
        fit to own things could
        not at pleasure enter
        upon all, and incorporate
        them into himself or
Of Equality—As if it harmed
        me, giving others the
        same chances ^and rights as myself—
        As if it were not indis‑
        pensable to my own rights
        that others also possess the
Of Justice—As if Justice could
        be any thing but the same
        ample law, expounded by
        natural judges and saviours,
As if it might be this thing
        or that thing, according
        to decisions!

This manuscript was probably composed in the late 1850s or in 1860 as Whitman was preparing the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass.
Editorial note
This manuscript is a draft of No. 4 of the "Thoughts" cluster published first in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. In the 1871 Leaves of Grass Whitman broke this poem apart, dispersing its individual lines into newly created poems: the first line in this draft was published as the initial line in "Thoughts (Of ownership)"; the second line was published as "Thought (Of Equality)"; and the third and fourth lines of this draft were published as "Thought (Of Justice)."
Notes written on manuscript
In top margin, in unknown hand: 25
Thoughts, no. 4 ('Of Ownership')  |  Amherst College Archives and Special Collections.
Whitman Archive ID


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