In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: ground where you may rest

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: rut.00025

Source: Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 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 fragment includes several lines of prose that became, after slight revision, lines of poetry in the initial poem of the 1855 Leaves of Grass (ultimately titled "Song of Myself"). The lines that appear in the poem begin with "Sit awhile wayfarer" and continue through the end of the manuscript, ending with "and open the gate for your egress hence." These lines would remain, with minor revisions, through all the various versions of "Song of Myself." The manuscript is held at Rutgers University Library along with several similar manuscripts that are numbered sequentially and probably date from around or before 1855: see "American literature must become distinct," "dithyrambic trochee," and "The only way in which."

Related item: On the back of this manuscript is a prose note with no known connection to Whitman's published work. See rut.00024.

Notes written on manuscript: On leaf 1 recto, in unknown hand: "8"

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Kirsten Clawson, Janel Cayer, and Kenneth M. Price

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[cut away] ^ eminent ground whence where you may stand rest yourself and look down quietly as on upon such, and on the those theories of the schools and upon ^ all the governments and religions.—which All are have nsomething noble and true, in —all and every one of them; but are not any the not the best that ever was built or ever will be built on earth, is the can stand as the final resting place destination of man.—O, wayfarer sSit awhile, wayfarer.—I give thee you apples ^ berries biscuits to eat and milk to drink; but when ^afterward thou hast you have [as?] [sla?] bathed thyself, and renewed thyself yourself in fresh clo sweet clothes, and staid here a little time, I shall surely kiss thee you on the cheek, and open the gate for [cut away] ^your egress hence.So speaks the angel

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