In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Perfect serenity of mind

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Before 1860

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00044

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: A line from this manuscript appears in "Poem of Joys," first published in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass, and later titled "A Song of Joys." Based on the handwriting, however, this manuscript probably was written earlier, likely before publication of the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass.

Related item: Printed text pasted onto the back of the manuscript has been underlined in pencil.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Kenneth M. Price, Farrah Lehman, Sandy Byrd, and Jennifer R. Overkamp

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Perfect serenity of mind

To take with entire self-possession
whatever comes,

What is this small thing in the great
continuous volumes every where?

This is but a temporary portion—
not to be dwelt upon—not
to distress—not to have prominence.

Superior nonchalance

No fumes—no ennui—no complaints
or scornful criticisms,—

To find how easily one can abstract
his identity from temporary affairs.

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