Title: This singular young man
Creator: Walt Whitman
Date: 1840s or early 1850s
Whitman Archive ID: duk.00120
Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.
Editorial note: This manuscript was first printed, in two separate segments, in Richard Maurice Bucke's Notes and Fragments (London, Ontario: A. Talbot & Co., 1899), 114–115, 116–117. Bucke dates the manuscript to the 1840s. It is possibly a draft of an early piece of fiction, but no connection to Whitman's known published works has been established.
Contributors to digital file: Janel Cayer, Jeannette Schollaert, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, Kenneth M. Price, and Brett Barney
This singular being young man was unnoted for any strong [cut away] qualities; and still he certainly had no bad qualities [illegible] had possessed very little of what is called education.—He [re?]mained much with by himself; though he had many brothers, sisters, and oth relations and acquaintances.—He did no work, like the rest.—He was Th By far the most of the time he remained silent.—He was not exccentric, nor did any one the suspect him of insane.—He loved, in summer, to sit onor lean on the rails of the fence, apparently ain pleasant thought.—He was rather less than the full good size of a man: his figure ^and face wasere full, his complexion without much color, his eyes, large, clear, and black.—He never drank rum, never went after women, [illegible] ^and took ^no part in the county frolics.—
He certainly had the power of a foreseer.—He very often knew, week days beforehand, of a death that was to should happen and who it was, and how it was to be.—This terrible consciousness came to him, irrespective of place or occasion.—Sometimes it came to him at night while he lay asleep sleeping in bed; at sometimes while he was eating at the table.—Then ^When it came he would rise ^up, and dress himself prepare himself, ^without speaking not a word, but walking straightway for the grave yard of the townvillage.—There he would repmain a short time, like inone in ^with a vision. He would then sometimes see, mistily, the whole ^of the future soon coming funeral.—tThe procession would arrive, and the minister. The coffin would be brought in, and placed on the tressels trestles, and the lid would be ^silently takken off, in and he with the rest would look on the face of the corpse.—Then it they would screw the lid on ^for the last time, and the minister would pray, and they then the burial; [and?] then a pause, after which the people would [illegible] leave, and with them, returning home and
In this manner, while at just after commencing his dinner one day he felt the horrible touch motion ^[illegible]quicken the pulses within him.;—and He knew the sign well;—He paused stopped, pushed back the plate from before him. under his mouth and arose ^to go—Mother nor any one else spoke a word to him.—Something more than usually wretched and ^ghastly and blear than ever before seemed this time to ride upon his flying galloping heart.—He knew the sign ^ well; and the thought came to him Swiftly he sped from the house, and along the road to the grave yard, and threw himself ^flat on his belly on the grass earth,—and folded his arms over under his close open eyes.—
Then the world receded from him.—And as it was gone became dim in the distance, he plainly heard the bell of the church tolling the [De?]burial toll.—Presently he saw afar off, the funeral ranks approaching.—Slow: how slow, and how long,.—and How noiseless, entering the old gate and treading on the thick unm that never mowed grass.—They set down the coffin, and the knife a cry of despair went through his side from him, when he saw that the black dressed mourners who stood nearest were his own folks.—Perhaps it was himself he should see in the linen shroud there.—They lifted the lid and he looked on the ^dead face of his sister, who sat had been was that minute at home with the others at the table, and in ^her ordinary health.—Yet it all came to pass as the young man beheld it.—