In Whitman's Hand

Poetry Manuscripts

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[Leaf 1 recto]

[Last of ebb]

At the Mouth of the River

Last of the the ebb, and daylight waning,
Scented sea‑breaths landward making—smells
        of the salt and sedge incoming,
While many the a half‑caught voice sound comes up from
        those frantic the whirls and eddies,
Many the a muffled confession, many a the a sob
        and whispering word,
As of speakers voices speakers far or hid.
[Leaf 1 verso]  
How they sweep down and out! how
        they mutter!
Hopes Pride of youth— manhood—tones of the dying—
        athechorus of age's complaints—feverish
        love,—the last, —hope's last bitter words,
[paper glued]
Haply the The heHeroes unknown, unnamed, borne down borne down off—the poets
        and artists unknown, yet
        greater than any, known
[paper glued]
Some suicide's despair's beguiling words, cry, and wish,
        Away Away tTo the boundless waste, and to and
        never again
[Leaf 1 verso]  
So ^Hold ye so many burnt-out lives, O ye drowning tide many burnt-out lives, drowning tide ^and waning fading light!?
Such ventures, —such aspirations lost? such failures?
On (On!(On!! on on to oblivion,, then! ^ye ventures aspirations lost [aspirations?]On, On, more quickly quicker
         on quicker yet yet, ye sweltering, whirling, shrouding
        waters!) ebb!) waters!)
On to oblivion then! ^on quicker, quicker yet on, quicker yet, on ye sweltering shrouding watersr
^(On for your time ye furious debouché! On, quicker yet

Whitman probably composed this manuscript shortly before its publication in 1885.
Editorial note
This manuscript is a draft of the poem "Last of Ebb, and Daylight Waning," first published in the "Fancies at Navesink" sequence of poems in the August, 1885 issue of Nineteenth Century.
Notes written on manuscript
In top margin, in unknown hand: 11.
In top margin, in unknown hand: 12.
In top margin, in unknown hand: 13.
Last of ebb, and daylight waning  |  Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
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