In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Rule in all addresses

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Before 1856

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00163

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 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: Lines and phrases on both sides of this manuscript leaf likely contributed to portions of the poem eventually titled "Song of Myself," and possibly to other sections of the 1855 Leaves of Grass, suggesting a composition date before 1855. However, this manuscript also includes lines that probably contributed to "Sun-Down Poem" (later retitled "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry") in the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass. Edward Grier notes that while this may indicate that the manuscript was composed at various times before and after 1855, the "date of the earliest drafts of 'Crossing Brooklyn Ferry' may well have been before 1855" (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:165). Lines from this manuscript also appear in another early manuscript: see "I know many beautiful things."

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

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Rule in all addresses—and poems and other writings, [etc?].—Do not undertake to say anything however plain to you, unless you are positive it will be ^are making it perfectly plain to those who hear or read.—Make it plain.—

[Unhappy character.—One?] who depends mostly upon others for his or her happiness, will never have any at all.—To be constantly watching the changes in people you love is [illegible]

One must be contained within himself—otherwise the world is all in vain.—

I say to my own greatness, Away!

I will not be a leader of men, I will always be their
mate and companion!

I do not desire eminence, I desire equality.

I will break up this demention that man is the
servant of God, or of many gods;

I say that nothing is every man he is great to himself and
every woman to herself;

And that to take an inferior place or be humble
is unbecoming

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A father A mother as well as father, a child as well as a man;

[A?]Not only an American, but an African Europeand, and Asiatic,


A lawyer, a doctor, a priest, a farmer sailor, an artist,

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A ^farmer, a carpenter, a blacksmith, a sailor, a cook,

Capable of all that is ugly and mean, and ^capable of all that
is pure and heroic,

Ignorant and accomplished, a chaos and a perfect system an answering purpose;

? out

Elasticity is I am—and I am the solid palpable dense rock—and I the ^I this invisible ^ as the gas of the air—

Scheming, storming planning, loving cautioning

Appearing and d Laughing and weeping, Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing

I travel day and night [such?] [illegible] these eternal roads

Don't forget the bombardment

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In me are the old and young the foolish and the wise observer thinker

I enclose the heroic, and I enclose the mean and vicious.—

Life in the universe—a vast circular procession whose ? rings expand outward and outward

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Every thing I have done seems to me blank and shallow and suspicious.—I doubt whether who my greatest thoughts, as I had supposed them, are not shallow.—and people will most likely laugh at them.— me.—My pride is impotent; my love gets no response.—The complacency of nature is hateful—for I am so filled with restlessness.—I am so incomplete.—

We do not so much care what people say—we are deeply interested in what they do.—If we can imagine nothing left of a man but talk,—would not that be a ridiculous remnant?—Yet a deaf and dumb person might still be one of the heroes.—

It is only the shallow who Do you suppose I would lift themselves myself out of
their race by something eminent and specially attractive.—

I am not quite such a fool as that

I am too great to be a mere President or Major General

I [am?]remain with my fellows,—with mechanics, and farmers
and common people;

I remain with them all on equal terms

There are many great painters—they paint scenes from the books, and illustrate from what the romancer and rhymster has prepared before them.—This artist does not illustrate or paint any such scenes or groups or characters.—He delineates for from himself.—Do you not like this magnificent disdain? of

Poem descriptive of a good wife
(housekeeper, cook, mother of many children.)


What is beauty?
Beauty is simply health.


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