In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: The test

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Before or early in 1855

Whitman Archive ID: med.00727

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, ed. Edward F. Grier (New York: New York University Press, 1984), 1:187. Grier based his text on Walt Whitman's Workshop, ed. Clifton Furness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1928), 49. The location of this manuscript is unknown. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: Because the manuscript has not been located it is difficult to speculate on the circumstances or date of its composition, but some of the wording in the manuscript calls to mind the poem eventually titled "Song of Myself." The date of the manuscript is therefore probably before or early in 1855.

Contributors to digital file: Janel Cayer, Jeannette Schollaert, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, and Kenneth M. Price

The test of the goodness or truth of anything is the soul itself—whatever does good to the soul, soothes, refreshes, cheers, inspirits, consoles, &c &c—that is so, easy enough.—But doctrines, sermons, logic??


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