In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: to enjoy the Panorama

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: About 1850

Whitman Archive ID: amh.00008

Source: Amherst College Archives and Special Collections. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: The repository's catalog card for this manuscript estimates the date of composition as "ca. 1880." This estimate seems to be based on the manuscript's mention of "Neversink," which was tied to Whitman's poem cluster "Fancies at Navesink," first published in the magazine Nineteenth Century in August 1885. However, the handwriting in the manuscript would seem to indicate a much earlier date, probably before the publication of Leaves of Grass in 1855. Most of the fragment describes a moving panorama, a popular form of entertainment during the antebellum period. The juxtaposition Whitman sets up in this manuscript (of painted panorama to actual landscape) appears in a line published in the 1855 and 1856 editions of Leaves of Grass, in the poem eventually titled "Song of Myself": "The panorama of the sea . . . . but the sea itself?" (1855, p. 47)

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth Price, Andrew Jewell, Zach Bajaber, Nicole Gray, and Kevin McMullen

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to enjoy the Panorama of the Sea, painted done by the best artists, recommended by certificates from clergymen; admission half a dollar front seats twelve and a half cents extra. Go [then,?] and [luck?] go with [you?].—So we turn our backs on the frivolous glimpse [where thither?] ^of the Highlands below there where old Neversink [the?] [illegible] lying sprawled ^that lie sprawling like a great fish, with Neversink at the head.—We turn our backs and proceed to have a good time with the ^ water color painted show whose puffs have been in the papers in nonpareil, or perhaps [illegible] in brevier leaded,— for a fortnight.—Puffs irresistible! hard to withstand when they came in close nonpareil, but [when?] in brevier leaded, the hat of the Grand Vizier.—

Meanwhile O Sister Wife (lady?) of the Earth, more spiritual than thy terreous brothers companion, (lord?)

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