In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: O joy of my spirit

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1867

Whitman Archive ID: med.00904

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, Notes and Fragments, ed. Richard Maurice Bucke (London, Ontario: A. Talbot & Co. [printer], 1899), 46. The location of this manuscript is unknown. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: Because the manuscript has not been located it is difficult to speculate on the circumstances of its composition. The phrase "path worn in the grass" appears in the 1855 poem eventually titled "Song of Myself." Language in the manuscript is also similar to language that appears in the poem "Poem of Joys" (1860), eventually titled "Song of Joys"; "A Farm Picture" (1867); and the manuscript poem "Pictures." Although Bucke has grouped the lines together in his transcription, there is also a possibility that they represent three separate manuscripts.

Contributors to digital file: Caitlin Henry and Nicole Gray

O joy of my spirit uncaged—it hops like a bird on the grass mounds of earth.

A path worn in the grass . . . . . . . . . .

Pasture field, where the cattle and horses feed.


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