In Whitman's Hand

Poetry Manuscripts

Table of Contents
Color Key

leaf 1 recto


(printed in Two Rivulets 1876)
I met a Seer,
Passing the hues and objects of the
The ? sweets ? fruits ? joys ? fields ? fruitsof art, material joys & learning, pleasure,
        & sense
To glean Eidólons
Put in thy chant, said he.
No more the visible human fleeting, fractional face
        or limb,
Nor hour, nor day—no ^segments, parts put in,
        Put in Eidólons only.
Lo! I or you,
Or ^Woman, Man ^[about three letters deleted, illegible] or State, known or unknown
While ^We seeming solid ^beauty, wealth, or
        strength ^or beauty we build, we ? better build;
We ^But really build Eidólons.
leaf 2 recto
[several words cut away] [or man, woman,?]
Its due Eidolon Out of each shape of life,
For From Of each corporeal bodily life,
Each atom ^duly surely gathered,—not a thought,
Emotion, deed, left out—issues at last,
        to last.
Its The Its due Eidolon.? The Its ^Its full Eidolon
[paper glued]
The ostent evanescent,
The ostent is the dream;
Known or unknown,
The end ^summon of all the poet's an artist's moods, or
        ? savan's studies long,
The Or warrior's, martyr's, hero's life toils
To fashion his Eidolon.
leaf 3 recto
The old, old urge,
^To-day Based on the ancient, higher
        pinnacles,; rise lo! on higher pinnacles
From Science & the modern ^still impell'd
The old, old urge, Eidolons
[paper glued]
Of current hours, & days, The present now & here
^To-day's Present Americas, ^now & here, a busy, ^teeming, intricate whirl,
Of aggregate & segregate, & ^duly for over only thence releasing,
Present To-day's Eidolons
leaf 4 recto
Myriads &
The noiseless mystic myriads!
The infinite oceans where the
        rivers empty!
The vital free existences, separate countless free identities like eyesight!
S[about five letters deleted, illegible] Reality's Mystic Noiseless Eidolons!
[paper glued]
Not these
Not this the World,
Nor these the Universes—they the Universes,
Purport and end—ever the ^permanent life of life
Eidolons, Eidolons
[paper glued]
Beyond thy lectures, learn'd professor,
^Beyond Thy telescope, or microscope,
Thy chyemistry, savan—[thy sur?]
Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy
Beyond thy microscope or telescope telescope or spectroscope,
        savan observer keen,
Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy—
        beyond all chemistry,
? Real, as they [as all?] Viewless at least, ^rReal Identities— The real entities—Eidolons.
leaf 5 recto
Tallies of Time
The vVaried, infinite & Unfixed, yet fixed,
SoEver have been, to be,—ever shall be, have been, and are,
Boundless with as tTime ? & tallying filling space,
Eidolons, Eidolons.
[paper glued]
The prophet & the bard,
Sh Yet, Shall yet maintain themselves— ^—in higher stages yet or new or old,
Yet Shall ^only mediate ^to Democracy, at the ^last ^to the Modern—to its interpret yet to them
God and Eidolons.
[paper glued]
For ^ ^And thee, for thee, O Soul,
Joys, ceaseless exercises exaltations
Thy yearnings ^amply met at last— ^thy with due prepared mystic
Thy ^prepared mystic mates, Eidolons.
[paper glued]
While of thy varied songs,
No special strains thou sing'st—
        —or this, or that,
None for itself—but from the Whole
        to rise and float ^fore'er in space,
A round full-orb'd Eidolon.
leaf 2 verso

[what means it?]

[paper glued]
[Begin hashmark section]
[deletion, illegible]
what means it?
The savan—recks he
[End hashmark section]
leaf 4 verso

[Of visible forms and]

[Begin hashmark section]
Of ^visible forms and
Forms disappear
Rocks, mountains, crumbling
        lost in time,
Eidolons everlasting.
The object of the past [cut away]
The [at least one word cut away]
[End hashmark section]

The manuscript was likely composed in 1875 or early 1876.
Editorial note
This manuscript is a draft of "Eidólons," a poem published first in the New York Tribune on February 19, 1876, and again in 1876 in the volume Two Rivulets.
The order of this manuscript has been established based in part upon the order of linegroups in the poem as initially published, though not every linegroup is represented in this draft. Almost every linegroup is on a separate scrap of paper, which, together with the evidence that he cut through one leaf in order to move a group of lines, indicates that Whitman was experimenting with multiple arrangements as he cut scraps and pasted them to other scraps.

Leaf 4: On the verso of leaf four is part of a faded letter in a hand other than Whitman's.

Notes written on manuscript
In top margin, in unknown hand: 3
In top margin, in unknown hand: 10
In top margin, in unknown hand: 7
In top margin, in unknown hand: 6
In top margin, in unknown hand: 4
Eidólons  |  The Walt Whitman Collection, Boston Public Library.
Whitman Archive ID


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