In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: I am become a shroud

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00030

Source: The Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin. 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. Lines in the manuscript are drafts of lines in the first and fourth poems of that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself" and "The Sleepers."

Related item: On the back of this manuscript is a prose fragment containing phrases that later became part of the poem "Unnamed Lands," first published in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. See duk.00003.

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

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[I?] am ^ [can be?] [I am can?] become a corpse, shroud; shrouded and buried,

I have wrapped a man's body body, and
am lie in the coffin with him. it.

It is dark there underground;—

It is not evil or pain there—it is the
absence of all that is good.—

Now it seems to me that any every thing out of
from not under above ^in the ground light ^above must be
happy, enough,

Whoever is not in his coffin, and the
dark grave, let him req know
he has enough.


The retrospective extasy is upon me—I am now my soul —spirit
burns volcanic

The earth recedes ashamed before my
prophetical crisis.—

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