In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: The three or four poets

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: tul.00002

Source: Walt Whitman Ephemera, University of Tulsa. 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 preparing materials for the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass. The manuscript features draft lines of the third poem in that edition, eventually titled "To Think of Time."

Related item: On the back of this leaf are notes toward a poem about "a perfect school." See tul.00011.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Andy Jewell, Kenneth Price, Brett Barney, Nick Krauter, Lisa Renfro, and Katrina Robertson

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The great three or four poets ^ of the stretch of the are well . . . . the wellknown
names of leaders and inventors . . . .
the rich owners and the ^pious and distinguished; —may be well, ?

But what are of all the rest?—Are Is there
none of account but ^of poets and the distinguished
and the [illegible] the owners ^and pious? ?

Are the ignorant and wicked nothing?

Are the interminable races hordes of Asia and
Africa nothing

Are the [illegible] common people of Europe
and America nothing?

Are the American aborigines and the [neg?] nothing?

Are Is the a zZambo and the or a ^foreheadless cCrowfoot
or the a Camanche nothing?

Is the a wretched young polluted man, thievish, —a thief,
uneducated, polluted, rank, swiftly
dying with the polluting rank sickness, nothing?

Is the Are the infected in the immigrant
hospital nothing?

Are the perpetual successions of
shallow persons and frivolous persons nothing?

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