In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: You there

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00263

Source: Papers of Walt Whitman (MSS 3829), Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. 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. It is a draft of lines that appear in the first poem in that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself."

Related item: A series of notes about poetic meter are written on the back of this manuscript leaf. See uva.00603.

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

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You there! impotent, loose [in?] the knees!

Open your mouth gums my pardy, that I put send ^blow grit
in you with one a [breath?];

Spread your palms, and move ^lift the flaps of
your pockets;

I am not to be denied—I compel;

I have stores plenty, and to spare;

And whatsoever any thing I have I bestow.—

I do not ask who you are—that is not
important to me;

You can do nothing, and be nothing, but what
I will infold you;

If you be diseased, deformed, a thief, you
need me the more.—

You thief! you diseased!—deformed!

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