In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: In metaphysical points

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Before or early in 1855

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00159

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: Based on the paper and the handwriting, Edward Grier dates this manuscript to before or early in 1855 (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:172). The wording and general idea of this prose manuscript anticipate lines that would appear in the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, in the preface and in the poem that was eventually titled "Song of Myself."

Contributors to digital file: Kirsten Clawson, Nicole Gray, Kevin McMullen, Kenneth M. Price, and Brett Barney

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Pure and Positive Truth ^ About Metaphysical points .—It seems to me, ^In metaphysical points, here is what I guess about pure and positive truths. I guess that after all reasoning and analogy and their most palpable demonstrations of any thing, we have the ^only real satisfaction comes only when the soul tells and tests by its own arch-chemic power—something as superior to the learnedest and reasoning proofs and finest reasoning, as one glance of the ^living sight, is more than quarto volumes of the elaborate description ^ and and of maps.— filling a thousand quarto volumes.—There is something in vast learning erudition melancholy and fruitless as an Arctic sea.—With most men it is a slow large dream, and in a fog too dreamed in a moving fog.—So complacent! So much body and muscle; fine legs to walk,—large supple hands—but the eyes are owl's eyes, and the heart is a mackerel's heart.—These words are for the great men, the giants ^gigantic few that have reached plunged themselves out into space deep through density and confusion, and pushed back the jealous coverings of the earth, and told us the brought out the true and great things, and ^the sweet true things, that hang and hung them like ^ round ripe oranges, on the rounder and riper than ever before, all the rest, on the limbs of among our f literature and science.—These words are for the ^five or six grand poets, too; and the masters of artists: ^I waste no ink, nor my throat, on the huge ever-deploying armies of professors, authors, lawyers, teachers and what not,. let us waste no words ink or breath. type.— Of them we expect of them to that they be very learned, and nothing [of?] more.—

What gentlemen! what then? Do you suppose it is for your geology and your chemistry and your mathematics

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