In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Locust whirring they come in July

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: About the 1850s or 1860s

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00467

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: This manuscript includes two written statements or observations, one about locusts and the other about sunflowers. Although the text is written with the hanging indentation characteristic of Whitman's poetry, it is unclear if these were ever intended as poetic lines. The note about locusts—"Locust whirring they come in July & are loud in August"—is similar to a description of Washington, D.C., in a piece of Civil War journalism titled "Washington in the Hot Season." In this article, published in the New-York Times on August 16, 1863, Whitman writes of the grounds around the U.S. Capitol building in the summertime and notes that there are "locusts whirring." Whether this manuscript directly contributed to this piece of journalism or not, it seems likely that it was composed in the 1850s or 1860s.

Related item: On the back of the leaf are draft lines that are not known to have been published in Whitman's lifetime. See tex.00005.

Contributors to digital file: Nick Krauter, Heather Morton, Nicole Gray, Andrew Jewell, Kenneth Price, and Brett Barney

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Locust whirring they come in July
& are loud in August


Sunflower—they bloom bright
and large & fresh early
in August & through
that month into

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[Page image:]


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