In Whitman's Hand

Poetry Manuscripts

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[Leaf 1 recto]

tThe man-of-war.-Bird

A terrible storm, a ^day & night, hurricane, wretch wrec lashing the sea to fury, & wrecking ships, & strewing the land with debris & destruction—Then a sweet calm ^following morn, the dawn rosy & elastic & the flashing sunriseThen & in it the frigate bird
[Begin pasted-on section]
The Frigate Bird.
[End pasted-on section]
[Leaf 1 verso]  

This manuscript was likely written between 1869 and 1876.
Editorial note
The prose on this manuscript describes the basic narrative of the poem "To the Man-of-War-Bird," a poem published first in the London Athenaeum on April 1, 1876. As Whitman acknowledged in the November 16, 1878 publication of "To the Man-of-War-Bird" in the Philadelphia Progress, the poem owes much to Jules Michelet's "The Bird," and particularly to the English translation that appeared first in 1869. This manuscript may be either an idea for a poem, a response to Michelet's verse, or a response to a newspaper piece about the frigate bird (also known as the man-of-war-bird), part of which Whitman clipped out and pasted to the manuscript.
The verso has notes in an unknown hand reading "Sea-drift, Page 35," "58." and, possibly in a different hand, "Walt Whitman."
Notes written on manuscript
In top margin, in unknown hand: 565.
The Man-of-War Bird  |  Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Whitman Archive ID


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