In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Asia

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: About 1855 or 1856

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00886

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 features notes and draft lines that are related to a poem published first as "Poem of Salutation" in the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass and later as "Salut Au Monde!" Whitman's use of the word "tabounshic" is unusual. He used it (spelled "tabounschik") only in the 1855 and 1856 editions of Leaves of Grass in the poem eventually titled "A Song for Occupations." In other respects, however, that poem does not appear to be related to these notes. At one point, this manuscript likely formed part of Whitman's cultural geography scrapbook.

Related item: Another series of draft lines on the back of this leaf were published as part of "Poem of Many in One" in the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass. See duk.00030.

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

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the grass

the winter appearance—
—The Tartar life—nomadic pasturage, the herds—
the tabounshic or horse‑herd
taboon, a herd of horses,
The oxen—cows—women preparing milk

The I am a Russ, An arctic sailor traversing I traverse the sea of Kara

A Kamskatkan [drawn?] [on my?] slight‑built sledge, drawn by dogs

The ancient Hindostanee
with his deeities—

The great old empires of India and
Persia,—their That of Persia and its expeditions and

The Sanskrit—the ancient poems
and laws

The idea of gods incarnated by their avatars
in men and women

The huge falling of the waters of
the Ganges over the peaks high rim of

The poems descended safely to this day
from poets of three thousand
years ago.

It is indeed a strange voice!—

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