In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: A poem theme Be happy

Creators: Walt Whitman, Cicero

Date: 1856 or later

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00707

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the marginalia and annotations, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: The printed text on the paste-on is a translation from Cicero's "de natura deorum" that originates in Edward Everett's widely reprinted lecture commemorating the inauguration of the Dudley Observatory, delivered at Albany on August 28, 1856. The lecture was reprinted in the November 1856 issue of The Eclectic Magazine as "The Utilities of Astronomy" (Volume 39), pp. 374–392. The whole item is pasted down, making the verso unavailable.

Contributors to digital file: Lauren Grewe, Nicole Gray, Ty Alyea, and Matt Cohen


Paste-on | Whitman's Notes on Paste-on | Whitman's Highlighting on Paste-on | Erasure | Overwrite

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A whole poem theme Be happy
going forth, seeing all the beautiful perfect things—

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"Nobly does ARISTOTLE observe, that if there were beings who had always lived under ground, in convenient, nay, in magnificent dwellings, adorned with statues and pictures, and everything which belongs to prosperous life—but who had never come above ground,—who had heard, however, by fame and report, of the being and power of the gods,—if at a certain time, the portals of the earth being thrown open, they had been able to emerge from those hidden abodes to the regions inhabited by us; when suddenly they had seen the earth, the seas, and the sky; had perceived the vastness of the clouds and the force of the winds; had contemplated the sun, his magnitude and his beauty, and still more his effectual power, that it is he who makes the day by the diffusion of his light through the whole sky; and when night had darkened the earth, should then behold the whole heavens studded and adorned with stars, and the various lights of the waxing and waning moon, the risings and the settings of all these heavenly bodies, and the courses fixed and immutable in all eternity; when, I say, they should see these things, truly they would believe that there were gods, and these, so great things, are their works."


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