In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Priests!

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: About 1855

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00013

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); 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 the manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: Thematically and in the wording of one of the lines this manuscript resembles a portion of the second poem in the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, a poem eventually entitled "A Song for Occupations." This connection suggests that this manuscript was composed before or early in 1855.

Related item: On the back is a proposition for a poem "embodying the sentiment of perfect happiness." See loc.07512.

Contributors to digital file: Justin St. Clair, Jean Dickinson, Brett Barney, Kenneth M. Price, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

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^Priests! Until you can explain a paving stone, ^ to every ones my perfect satisfaction O Priests, do
not try to explain God:

Until your creeds can do as much as apples and hen's eggs, [restrain?] ^[pull?] let down your eyebrows ^a little,

Until your Bibles and prayer-books are able to
walk like me,

And until your brick and mortar can procreate
as I can,

I beg you, sSirs, do not presume to put them
above me.

take in
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