In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: myself to celebrate

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00787

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: These manuscript lines are drafts of lines used in the first poem in the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, eventually titled "Song of Myself," including the poem's famous opening line, "I celebrate myself." In the repository, this manuscript is bound, seemingly by a collector, with a printer's copy of the 1881–82 edition of Leaves of Grass that contains numerous handwritten corrections by Whitman.

Related item: On the back of this leaf is a prose manuscript with no known connection to Whitman's published work, in which he compares writing to the composition of a "grand opera." See duk.00879.

Contributors to digital file: Caitlin Henry, Nicole Gray, Kirsten Clawson, Janel Cayer, Kenneth M. Price, and Stephanie Blalock

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[cut away] myself to celebrate [cut away]

It is you talking—I am your voice—It was tied in
you—In me it begins to be loosened.— talk.—

I celebrate myself to celebrate you; every man and woman

I transpose my my spirit

I pass as [live?] quickly through the ears that hear me;

I am loosen the voice tongue that was tied in you them

In me It begins to talk out of my mouth

I pass quiet

I celebrate myself to celebrate you:

I am the voice of another man

What I I speak The What I speak [illegible] speak I say for of I speak say the same word for every man and woman alive

And I say that the soul is not greater than the Body

And I say that the Body is not greater than the Soul.

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