In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: There is no word in

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00018

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. 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: Whitman probably drafted this manuscript in the early 1850s as he was composing the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass. It includes drafts of lines and ideas that appeared in a revised form in the first poem in that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself." It is possible that the manuscript "Man, before the rage of" is a continuation of this manuscript draft. This manuscript has been mounted, so an image of the back of the leaf is not currently available.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Kenneth M. Price, Andrew Jewell, Chris Forster, Kristen Taylor, and Brandon James O'Neil

[begin leaf 1 recto] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Page image:]

There is no word in any tongue,

No array, no form of symbol,

To tell his infatuation

Who would prove ^define the scope and purpose
of God.—


Mostly this we have of God: we have

Lo, the sun;

Ists glory floods the moon,

Which of a night shines in some turbid

Shaken by soughing winds;

And there are sparkles mad and
tossed and broken,

And their archetype is the Sun.


Of God I know not;

But this I know;

I can comprehend no being more wonderful
than Man;


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Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.