In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: (Poem) Shadows

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1865

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00119

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: This manuscript may have been written between 1850 and 1855, when Whitman was preparing materials for the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass. The description of the plate-glass windows on Broadway bears some resemblance to a description in the first poem in that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself." It is also possible that the manuscript was written later, however: the description of Broadway in these lines also closely resembles a description Whitman wrote in his unfinished poem known as "The Two Vaults," a poem that is recorded in a New York notebook that probably dates to the early 1860s. Whitman also wrote about Broadway elsewhere in later poems, so the manuscript may have been written still later. The manuscript has been pasted down, so an image of the back of the leaf is currently unavailable.

Related item: A note about an editorial on "American Expansion and Settlement Inland" is written on the back of this leaf.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Chris Forster, and Stephanie Blalock

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

[Page image:]

(Poem) Shadows ? Reflections

As seen in the windows
of the shops, passing up as I turn from
and over the crowded
street, and peer ^through the plate glass at the pictures
or rich goods

In Broadway, the reflections, ^moving, glistening, silent
like phantasmic,— glistening

Aside from Turn from behind the (the heavy base, the great hum and harshness,
[illegible] composite and musical, )[leaving?] it [illegible]

The faces and figures, old and young
[illegible] all so various, all so phantasmic

The omnibus passing, and then another
and another—the clou clear sky
up of


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