In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Remember if you are dying

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1860

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00278

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: This manuscript was probably written between 1850 and 1860. The lines are similar in subject to lines in the poem "To One Shortly to Die," first published in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. The use of ellipses within poetic lines was characteristic of Whitman's first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass, however, and lines in this manuscript also resemble lines that appeared in the first poem in that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself." On the upper right corner of the manuscript appear the words "note last page of 'Ghost-seers'" in Whitman's hand, which may be a reference to one of the two volumes of The Night Side of Nature, Or, Ghosts and Ghost-Seers, by Catherine Crowe (London: T. C. Newby, 1848; G. Routledge & Co., 1852). Whitman mentioned the book in a conversation with Horace Traubel on December 9, 1889 (With Walt Whitman in Camden, 6:180–2). The phrase "Ghost-seers" also recalls a statement regarding Emerson in "Leaves-Droppings," a section of correspondence and commentary Whitman appended to the 1856 edition: "[Emerson] sees the future of truths as our Spirit-seers discern the future of man..."

Related item: Fragmentary lines written on the back of this manuscript leaf were used in the poem eventually titled "Song of Myself." See uva.00561.

Notes written on manuscript: On leaf 1 recto, in unknown hand: "26"

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray and Heather Morton

[begin leaf 1 recto] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Page image:]

                                                                                       (note last page of "Ghost‑seers"


Remember if you are dying, that you are dying,
. . . is it so, then?

If it be so, I bring no shuffling
consolation of doctors and priests,

I tell the truth . . . I tell with unvarying

[begin leaf 1 verso] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Page image:]


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