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And there is the meteor-shower

  • Whitman Archive Title: And there is the meteor-shower
  • Whitman Archive ID: loc.06006
  • Repository: Catalog of the Walt Whitman Literary Manuscripts in The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839-1919, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
  • Box: 40
  • Folder: The voice of Walt Whitman
  • Series: Notes and Notebooks
  • Date: Between 1855 and 1860
  • Genre: poetry
  • Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
  • View Images: 1 | 2
  • Content: One leaf made by pasting together two scraps of pink paper, probably wrappers from the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. This manuscript contains approximately four poetic lines, written and revised in ink, about the 1833 Leonid meteor shower. It is possible that these lines are related to the poem "Year of Meteors. (1859–1860)," although other than a mention of meteors and the description of them as "dazzling," the subject of the manuscript seems to have little to do with the subject of the poem, which is mostly about the portents of the Civil War. "Year of Meteors" was first published in Drum-Taps (1865). Richard Maurice Bucke's transcription of these lines in Notes and Fragments (1899) begins with another version of these lines and an additional line following them. It is possible that these lines were present on the manuscript when he made his transcription but have since been cut off, though it is also possible that Bucke combined transcriptions from separate leaves. The now-absent final line of Bucke's transcription reads, "Such have I in the round house hanging—such pictures name I—and they are but little." If indeed Whitman wrote this line as part of the present manuscript, it would connect it with the early poem "Pictures," unpublished during Whitman's lifetime. Given the use of the 1855 wrapper paper, this was likely composed between late 1855 and 1860. On the reverse side, made up of two different scraps are the trial title "Poem of the Trainer," (loc.06005) which is written in ink, and several fragmentary lines written in pencil (loc.07550), describing a whale hunt and likely related to "Song of Joys".

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