In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: The fester of defeat sharper

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00023

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library . 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: Whitman probably drafted this manuscript in the early 1850s as he was composing the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass. The last few lines of the manuscript are drafts of lines used in the first poem of that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself."

Related item: On the back of this leaf Whitman quotes Voltaire in a brief prose note on literary style.

Contributors to digital file: Stephanie Blalock, Caitlin Henry, Nicole Gray, Farrah Lehman, and Ed Folsom

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The fester of defeat sharper than the green
edged bayonet holes in his side;

What choked the throat talk ^ [worn?] throat of the general brigadier, when
he surrendered gave up his army; brigade;

These become mine and me, every one;

And I become much more when I like.—

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