In Whitman's Hand

Poetry Manuscripts

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[Leaf 1 recto]

Others may praise what they like.

Others may praise what they
But I, from the banks of the
        running Missouri, praise
        nothing, in art or aught
Till it has breathed of the
        atmosphere of this river,
        or of the prairies of Illinois
        & Indiana,
And fully exudes it again.
[Leaf 1 verso]  


[Sometimes I think it would be better still]

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are already getting to be pretty numerous and outspoken.—
                                                Walt Whitman.
Sometimes I think it would be better still to make a compact and finished Vol. of the whole issue of "Leaves of Grass," including the former ones with the new ones, for they are all of a uniform pattern.— This would afford a splendid living American Vol. that would go like the devil through the West, and among the young men everywhere.—
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This recto of this manuscript, "Others May Praise What They Like" was likely composed shortly before its publication in Drum Taps (1865). The verso was probably written earlier, in 1860, as explained below.
Editorial note
Perhaps because this poem did not treat the war, Whitman moved it from Drum-Taps into Passage to India, and ultimately into the "Autumn Rivulets" cluster of Leaves of Grass.
On the verso is a fragment of an undated draft letter to an unspecified correspondent. We think the letter is probably from 1860 and meant for Thayer and Eldridge since Whitman was eager to have them press for sales of Leaves of Grass in the west. In his anonymous self-review, "All About a Mocking-Bird," Whitman discussed the forthcoming third edition of 1860: "The market needs to-day to be supplied—the great West especially—with copious thousands of copies" (New York Saturday Press, 7 January 1860, p. 3).
Others may praise what they like  |  Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
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