In Whitman's Hand
Answer me, year of repulses After ^certain disastrous campaigns.
|Answer me, traitor! year of|
|How will the poets, the lecturers|
| of ages hence, look back to you,|
| & to me also?|
|What themes will they make ^O year out of|
| you, O year? (themes for ironical sarcastic|
|What are the ballads & proofs to|
| be finally made shown of out of you?|
|Are they not indeed to be shown|
| with pride, as by poets bards descended of|
| mine own from me? by my children?|
|Are to be they really of failures? of|
| ^are they sterile, incompetent yieldings after all?|
|Are they not indeed to be as|
| victorious shouts from my|
- According to Sculley Bradley and Harold W. Blodgett, the "year of repulses may well have been 1862, the disastrous campaigns being those of Major General George B. McClellan, who was halted by General Robert E. Lee until the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862. Or possibly the year may have been 1863 when Lee and Jackson pushed northward until Lee was halted at Gettysburg, July 1-3" (Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition, ed. Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley. New York: New York University Press, 1965, 666-67n.) . The manuscript was likely composed between 1862-1865, while Whitman was writing his 1865 volume Drum-Taps.
- Editorial note
- A poem unpublished in Whitman's lifetime, "After Certain Disastrous Campaigns" was published first in The Uncollected Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman, ed. Emory Holloway (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page, 1921).
- After certain disastrous campaigns MA 518 (B) | The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
- Whitman Archive ID