In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: A nation announcing itself

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: 1855 or 1856

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00030

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: This manuscript consists of draft lines that were published first under the title "Poem of Many in One" in the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass. The poem was revised many times throughout Whitman's career and, in its final form, was titled "By Blue Ontario's Shore."

Related item: On the back of this leaf is a series of draft notes and lines related to the poem published first as "Poem of Salutation" in the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass, and later as "Salut Au Monde!" See duk.00886.

Contributors to digital file: Andrew Jewell, Kenneth Price, Brett Barney, Zane Zimbelman, Lisa Renfro, Nick Krauter, and Nicole Gray

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A nation announcing itself,

I myself make the only growth by which I
shall can be appreciated;

I reject none, receive all, reproduce all in modern

A breed whose testimony is behaviour,

What we are, we are . . . nativity is answer enough
to all objections,

We wield ourselves as a weapon is wielded,

We are powerful and tremendous in ourselves,

We are executive by ourselves . . . we are sufficient
in the variety of ourselves,

We are the most beautiful to ourselves, and in ourselves,

Nothing is sinful to us outside of ourselves . . . pious

Whatever or appears, whatever does not appear, we
are beautiful or sinful in ourselves.—

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