In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Eidólons

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: 1875 or early 1876

Whitman Archive ID: bpl.00007

Source: The Walt Whitman Collection, Boston Public Library. 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: This manuscript is a draft of "Eidólons," a poem published first in the New York Tribune on February 19, 1876, and again in 1876 in the volume Two Rivulets. The manuscript was likely composed in 1875 or early 1876. The order of the manuscript has been established based in part upon the order of linegroups in the poem as initially published, though not every linegroup is represented in this draft. Almost every linegroup is on a separate scrap of paper, which, together with the evidence that he cut through one leaf in order to move a group of lines, indicates that Whitman was experimenting with multiple arrangements as he cut scraps and pasted them to other scraps.

Related item: On the back of the fourth leaf is part of a faded letter in a hand other than Whitman's.

Notes written on manuscript: On leaf 1 recto, in unknown hand: "3"; on leaf 2 recto, in unknown hand: "10"; on leaf 3 recto, in unknown hand: "7"; on leaf 4 recto, in unknown hand: "6"; on leaf 5 recto, in unknown hand: "4"

Contributors to digital file: Kirsten Clawson, Nicole Gray, Andrew Jewell, Kenneth M. Price, Brett Barney, Nick Krauter, Lisa Renfro, and Jennifer R. Overkamp

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(printed in Two Rivulets 1876)

I met a Seer,

Passing the hues and objects of the

The ? sweets ? fruits ? joys ? fields ? fruits of art , material joys & learning, pleasure,
& sense

To glean Eidólons

Put in thy chant, said he.

No more the visible human fleeting, fractional face
or limb,

Nor hour, nor day—no ^segments, parts put in,
Put in Eidólons only.

Lo! I or you,

Or ^Woman, Man ^ of us, or State, known or unknown

While ^We seeming solid ^ beauty, wealth, or
strength ^or beauty we build, we ? better build,

We ^But really build Eidólons.

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[cut away] [or man, woman,?]

Its due Eidolon Out of each shape of life,

For From Of each corporeal bodily life,

Each atom ^ duly surely gathered,—not a thought,

Emotion, deed, left out—issues at last,
to last.

Its The Its due Eidolon.

? The ^Its full Eidolon

[paper glued]

The ostent evanescent,

The ostent is the dream;

Known or unknown,

The end ^summon of all the poet's an artist's moods, or
? savan's studies long,

The Or warrior's, martyr's, hero's life toils

To fashion his Eidolon.

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[cut away] what means it?

The savan—recks he [cut away]

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The old, old urge,

^ To-day Based on the ancient, higher
pinnacles,; rise lo! on higher pinnacles

From Science & the modern ^still impell'd

The old, old urge, Eidolons

[paper glued]

The present now & here Of current hours, & days,

^ To-day's Present Americas, ^ now & here, a busy, ^teeming, intricate whirl,

Of aggregate & segregate, & ^ duly for over duly thence releasing,

Present To-day's Eidolons

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Myriads &

The noiseless mystic myriads!

The infinite oceans where the
rivers empty!

The vital free existences, separate countless free identities like eyesight!

[Spaces?] Reality's Mystic Noiseless Eidolons!

[paper glued]

Not these

Not this the World,

Nor these the Universes—they the Universes,

Purport and end—ever the ^permanent life of life

Eidolons, Eidolons

[paper glued]

Beyond thy lectures, learn'd professor,

^ Beyond Thy telescope, or microscope,

Thy chyemistry, savan—[thy sur?]

Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy

Beyond thy microscope or telescope telescope or spectroscope,
savan observer keen,

Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy—
beyond all chemistry,

? Real, as they, [as all?] Viewless at least, ^ rReal Identities— The real entities—Eidolons.

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Of ^visible forms and

Forms            disappear

Rocks, mountains, crumbling
lost in time,

Eidolons everlasting.

The object of the past [cut away]

The [cut away]

[end hashmark section]

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Tallies of Time

The vVaried, infinite & Unfixed, yet fixed,

So Ever have been, to be,— ever shall be, have been, and are,

Boundless with as tTime ? & tallying filling space,

Eidolons, Eidolons.

[paper glued]

The prophet & the bard,

Sh Yet, Shall yet maintain themselves—^—in higher stages yet or new or old,

Yet Shall only mediate ^to Democracy, at the ^ last ^^to the Modern— to its interpret yet to them

God and Eidolons.

[paper glued]

For ^And thee, for thee, O Soul,

Joys, ceaseless exercises exaltations

Thy yearnings ^amply met at last—^ thy with due prepared mystic

Thy ^ prepared mystic mates, Eidolons.

[paper glued]

While of thy varied songs,

No special strains thou sing'st—
—or this, or that,

None for itself—but from the Whole
to rise and float ^ fore'er in space,

A round full-orb'd Eidolon.

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