In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: After the Supper and Talk

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1884 and 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00004

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from The Walt Whitman Archive I: Whitman Manuscripts at the Library of Congress, ed. Joel Myerson (New York: Garland, 1993), 1:121; Major American Authors on CD-Rom: Walt Whitman (Westport, CT: Primary Source Media, 1997). The transcription was then checked against 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's poem "After the Supper and Talk" was submitted to Harper's in 1885 but was rejected. It was published in Lippincott's Magazine in November, 1887. This manuscript draft, however, may well have been intended for neither journal because of the reference to "volume" in the bracketed note. In November Boughs (1888) he used "After the Supper and Talk" as the concluding poem in the volume; it was followed by numerous prose pieces.

Related item: On the reverse of the manuscript leaf is pasted a partial, lightly corrected proof of the poem eventually titled "Song of the Exposition," made up of two scraps.

Contributors to digital file: Andrew Jewell, Kenneth Price, Brett Barney, Zach Bajaber, Melissa Sinner, Nicole Gray, Nick Krauter, Lisa Renfro, and Justin St. Clair

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After the Supper and Talk

[Preceeding To precede some added Poems at end of a Volume.]

                                                                                       small ital


After the supper and talk—after the day is done,

As a friend from friends his final withdrawal pro-

Good-bye and Good-bye with emotional lips re-

(So hard for his hand to release those hands—no
more will they meet,

No more for communion of sorrow and joy,
of old and young,

A far-stretching journey awaits him, to return
no more.)

Shunning, postponing the severance,—seeking to
ward off the last word ever so little,

E'en at the exit‑door turning—charges super-
fluous calling back—e'en as he de-
scends the steps,

Something to eke out a minute additional—
—shadows of nightfall deepening,

Farewells, messages lessening—dimmer the
forth‑goer's visage and form,

Soon to be lost ^for aye, in the darkness—loth, O
so loth to depart!

Garrulous to the very last.

Walt Whitman

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