In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: undulating

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00116

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. Language in the manuscript is similar to lines that appeared in the fifth poem in that edition, later titled "I Sing the Body Electric." For further discussion of the relationship between this manuscript and the 1855 Leaves of Grass, see Kenneth M. Price, "The Lost Negress of 'Song of Myself' and the Jolly Young Wenches of Civil War Washington," in Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays, ed. Susan Belasco, Ed Folsom, and Kenneth M. Price (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2007), 229–30. The manuscript has been pasted down, so an image of the reverse is not currently available.

Contributors to digital file: Caitlin Henry and Nicole Gray

[begin leaf 1 recto] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Page image:]

swiftly merging
from womb to birth
from birth to fullness
and transmission
quickly transpiring

conveying the sentiment of the mad, whirling, fullout speed of the stars, in their circular orbits


If you are black, ashamed of your wooly head


Do you remember your mother Is she living


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Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.