Title: Not to dazzle
Creator: Walt Whitman
Date: Before or early in 1855
Whitman Archive ID: med.00729
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, ed. Edward F. Grier (New York: New York University Press, 1984), 1:202. Grier based his text on Notes and Fragments, ed. Richard Maurice Bucke (London, Ontario: A. Talbot & Co., printers, 1899), 71. The location of this manuscript is unknown. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.
Editorial note: Lines from this manuscript were used in the Preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. The sentence that begins "The soul has that measureless pride..." also later became part of the poem "Song of Prudence." Because the manuscript has not been located it is difficult to speculate on the circumstances of its composition, but it was almost certainly written before or early in 1855.
Contributors to digital file: Janel Cayer, Jeannette Schollaert, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, Brett Barney, and Kenneth M. Price
Not to dazzle with profuse descriptions of character and events and passions. The greatest poet is not content with dazzling his rays over character and events and passions and scenery and does not descend to moralize or make applications of morals. The soul has that measureless pride which consists in never acknowledging any lessions but its own . . . this invariably. But to bring the Spirit of all events and persons and passions to the formation of the one individual that hears or reads . . . of you up there now.