In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Thou West that gave'st him to us

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: 1865

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07461

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), 1:156. 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: This manuscript consists of draft lines of a poem never published in Whitman's lifetime. An elegy for Abraham Lincoln, the poem does not share lines or specific imagery with Whitman's most famous elegy, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," or the other poems in the cluster "Memories of President Lincoln." The manuscript was probably written in the spring of 1865, shortly after Lincoln's death in April.

Related item: On the back of this leaf is a draft of "Beat! Beat! Drums!" which was first published simultaneously in Harper's Weekly and the New York Leader on September 28, 1861. See loc.00051.

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

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Thou West that gave'st him to us

Thou gavest him to us, Land,

Thou, That ^ for our sake, rear'dst him in on thy fresh & ample prairies,
and on the breasts of thy great, fresh,
musical flowing rivers;

This day we return to thee his with bearing his body.

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