In Whitman's Hand

Poetry Manuscripts

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leaf 1 recto

After the Supper and Talk

[Preceeding To precede some added Poems at end of a Volume.]
After the supper and talk—after the day is done,
As a friend from friends his final withdrawal pro-
        longing,
Good-bye and Good-bye with emotional lips re-
        peating,
(So hard for his hand to release those hands—no
        more will they meet,
No more for communion of sorrow and joy,
        of old and young,
A far-stretching journey awaits him, to return
        no more.)
Shunning, postponing the severance,—seeking to
        ward off the last word ever so little,
E'en at the exit‑door turning—charges super-
        fluous calling back—e'en as he de-
        scends the steps,
Something to eke out a minute additional—
        —shadows of nightfall deepening,
Farewells, messages lessening—dimmer the
        forth‑goer's visage and form,
Soon to be lost ^for aye, in the darkness—loth, O
        so loth to depart!
Garrulous to the very last.
                                                Walt Whitman
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leaf 1 verso

Date
Whitman's poem "After the Supper and Talk" was submitted to Harper's in 1885 but was rejected. It was published in Lippincott's Magazine in November, 1887. This manuscript draft, however, may well have been intended for neither journal because of the reference to "volume" in the bracketed note. In November Boughs (1888) he used "After the Supper and Talk" as the concluding poem in the volume; it was followed by numerous prose pieces.
Editorial note
On the verso of the manuscript leaf is pasted a partial, lightly corrected proof of the poem eventually titled "Song of the Exposition," made up of two scraps.
Location
After the Supper and Talk  |  The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Whitman Archive ID
loc.00004

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