In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: A procession without halt

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1861 and 1870

Whitman Archive ID: owu.00001

Source: The Bayley-Whitman Collection, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH. 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: The date is unknown. Whitman used the image of a procession many times in his poetry, including in section 38 of "Song of Myself" and in section 6 of "Return of the Heroes" (in the final versions of those poems). However, this manuscript is most likely a draft toward a different poem altogether. It is possible these lines were composed between 1861 and 1870, when Whitman had most reason to employ imagery of marching.

Contributors to digital file: Nick Krauter, Lisa Renfro, Ashley Price, Nicole Gray, Andrew Jewell, Kenneth M. Price, and Brett Barney

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A procession without rest or halt,

Apparent at times and hid at times,

Rising the rising grounds, in relief
against the clear sky, lost
in the [g?] hollows, stretched
interminably over the plains,

No eye so far‑reaching as to
see where the last first

No eye that ever saw the starting—
no eye that ever shall need
wait for the ending


Where [illegible] any one passes views goes, however ahead,
the rest only coming, however
far behind,

Marches the a marching procession

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