In Whitman's Hand

Poetry Manuscripts

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leaf 1 recto
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If I should need to name, O Western World!

Presidential canvass and pending Election, 1884.
 
        If I should need to name, O Western World!
        your powerfulest scene to-day,
        'Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye
        limitless prairies—nor your huge
        rifts of cañons, Colorado,
        Nor you, Yosemite, with all your spasmic
        geyser‑loops ascending to the skies, ap-
        pearing and disappearing,
        Nor Oregon's white cones—nor Huron's belt
        of mighty lakes—nor Mississippi's stream:
        This seething hemisphere,'s ^humanity, as now, I'd name—
        the still small voice preparing—
        America's choosing day,
        (The heart of it not in the chosen—the act
        itself the main, the great quad[illegible] quadrennial
        choosing,)
        The stretch of nNorth and sSouth arouse'd—
        sea‑board and inland—Texas to Maine,
        The Prairie States, Vermont, Virginia, Cali-
        fornia,
        The final ballot‑shower from eEast to wWest—
        the paradox and conflict,
        The countless snow‑flakes falling—(a swordless
        conflict,
 
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leaf 2 recto
        Yet more than all Rome's wars of old,
        or modern Napoleon's:)
        Or good or ill ^humanity——welcoming the darker odds,
        the dross, the scene's debris—:
        Foams and ferments the wine? it is serves to puri-
        fy—while the heart pants, life glows;
        These stormy gusts and winds waft precious
        ships,
        Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.
                                                Walt Whitman

Camden, N.J., Oct. 25, 1884.

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leaf 2 verso
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leaf 3 recto
To go in Sunday's paper Oct 26
put in type & send me a proof, by mail—direct 328 Mickle Street Camden—(send proofs by Wednesday 22 if convenient) [I will return immediately?]
[cut away] bearer one proof for me Whitman
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leaf 3 verso
Mr Curtz printer Federal street opp. post office

Date
The manuscript is dated October 25, 1884.
Editorial note
Whitman published "If I Should Need to Name, O Western World" in the Philadelphia Press on October 26, 1884. The poem's title was revised to "Election Day, November, 1884" when it was included in November Boughs (1888).

Leaf 3: Accompanying this manuscript is a small scrap of paper, no doubt intended for the Philadelphia Press, with a note to the printer.

Location
If I should need to name, O Western World!  |  The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839-1919, Library of Congress, Washington, DC..
Whitman Archive ID
loc.00203

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