In Whitman's Hand

Manuscripts

About this Item

Title: There can be nothing small

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: prc.00127

Source: The manuscript was sold by Sotheby's in 2008. The current location of the manuscript is unknown. Transcribed from digital images of the original that were posted to Sotheby's website. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the 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. Lines from the manuscript appear in the first poem in that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself." Other lines are possibly related to the preface.

Related item: On the back of this manuscript is a partial draft of "Memorial in Behalf of a Freer Municipal Government, and Against Sunday Restrictions," printed in the Brooklyn Star on October 20, 1854. See prc.00128.

Notes written on manuscript: On leaf 1 recto, in unknown hand: "✓"

Contributors to digital file: Brett Barney, Nicole Gray, and Brandon James O'Neil



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[Page image: https://whitmanarchive.org/manuscripts/figures/prc.00127.002.jpg]

W.W. W.W. WW

There can be nothing little small or trifling useless in the universe;

The insignificant grows as tall spreads as far is as much ^big as the noble;

What is less than a sheathed? touch?


All truths stand ready wait in all things; places;

The wait with inclined heads and arms folded
over their breasts;

They neither urge their own birth nor resist it;

They do not need the obstetric forceps of the
surgeon;

They unclose to whoever fetches the heat warmth of
the sunshine light and the moisture
of rain.—


^ Only What fully satisfies the senses ^ of all all men is truth;

Logic and sermons never convince; me;

The dew of the night drives deeper into my the soul.—

An eternal A test of any thing!

It proves itself to the experience ^and senses of all men and women!

Bring ^it to folks any thing, and you will see whether
they doubt;

We They do not doubt contact or ^hunger or love;

We They do not doubt our fingers and toes; paving stones nor iron or steam;

We do not doubt the truth ^ being ^ mystery of hunger and of life, pain growth ;

We do not doubt the east or the west;

We do not doubt ^ sight.—

[cut away]


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[Page image: https://whitmanarchive.org/manuscripts/figures/prc.00127.001.jpg]




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