In Whitman's Hand

Poetry Manuscripts

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[Leaf 1 recto]

[A procession without halt]

A procession without rest or halt,
Apparent at times and hid at times,
Rising the rising grounds, in relief
        against the clear sky, lost
        in the [g?] hollows, stretched
        interminably over the plains,
No eye so far‑reaching as to
        see where the last first
No eye that ever saw the starting—
        no eye that ever shall need
        wait for the ending
Where [deletion, illegible] any one passes views goes, however ahead,
        the rest only coming, however
        far behind,
Marches the a marching procession

The date is unknown. However, the lines were probably composed between 1861 and 1870, when Whitman had most reason to employ imagery of marching.
Editorial note
This is a draft of a poem unpublished in Whitman's lifetime. Whitman used the image of a procession many times in his poetry, including in section 38 of "Song of Myself" and in section 6 of "Return of the Heroes" (in the final versions of those poems). However, this manuscript is most likely a draft toward a different poem altogether.
[A procession without halt]  |  The Bayley-Whitman Collection, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware OH.
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