In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: What would it bring you

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00732

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. Although these lines do not appear in the versions of the poems included in that edition, the numbering, paper, and ink are similar to other manuscripts with lines used in the first poem in that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself."

Related item: A draft line of poetry written on the back of this manuscript may relate to the poem eventually titled "Song of Myself." See nyp.00052.

Contributors to digital file: Brett Barney, Nicole Gray, and Robert LaCosse

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What would it do bring you to be elected and take
your place in the Capitol?

I elect you to understand yourself; that is what
all the offices in the republic could not do


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