In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: I know as well as

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00051

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. Lines from the manuscript appear in the first poem in that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself." The ideas and some of the language are also similar to other early manuscripts that relate to the second poem in the 1855 edition of Leaves, ultimately titled "A Song for Occupations," and part of a cluster titled "Debris" that appeared in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass (see "Priests," "Do I not prove myself," and "[Fa]bles, traditions").

Related item: A series of notes written on the back of this manuscript are dated March 20, 1854. See duk.00887.

Contributors to digital file: Jennifer R. Overkamp, Stacy Provan, Brett Barney, Andrew Jewell, Kenneth M. Price, Kirsten Clawson, Janel Cayer, and Nicole Gray

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I know as well as you that the Bibles iare ^divine revelations of God

But I know say that any each leaf of grass and every each hair of my
breast and beard is ^also equally also a a more developed revelation
of God just as divine

But Do you stop there?

Have you no more faith than that?

Can you I live in no such infinitessimal meanness as that?

Do you Would you bribe God the Lord ^Adonais with same stray change?

I disdain and denounce your shallow

I ^ outbid you, shallow hucksters!

Such infirm

All you have ever pile up said and done compiled composed is are not august
enough to dent endow answer tally a leaf of grass the partition of in my nostrils; nose;

^I say that All the churches ever built now standing fail of were richly pious well
employed in orisons to one a twig from
an sprig of parsley;

^I tell you All ^that your caste have said ever said about Go narrated said
and about ^Belus Haephestos God ^Osiris and [illegible] Belus and Jehovah is a ^too shallow description
fonr one man's soul;

I see ^claim these for that fr one of those framers ^over the way, framing the a house.— in that each man more
the young man, ^there with rolled up shirt-sleeves and
sweat on his divine superb face, more than your craft

[cut away] [illegible] three thousand years ago [illegible]for Kronos or Zeus his
son or Hercules his grandson.

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