In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: cottonwood

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00601

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. Lines in the manuscript are similar to lines in the first poem in that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself." The list of flora and fauna could anticipate any number of similar lists in Whitman's writing, but has perhaps the most words in common with a line in the prose preface to the 1855 Leaves of Grass.

Related item: Poetic lines on the back of this manuscript leaf also relate to lines in the poem eventually titled "Song of Myself." See uva.00254.

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

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[cut away]
chickadee—large brown water-dog—
—black-snake—garter snake—
wh white-blossominged dog-wood—
—sweet potato—plum-trees—plumborchard


The suicide that hanged himsel
went to a lonesome place
with a pistol and killed
himself, and I came that way and
stumbled upon him


locust, birch with white and ringed birch


I see the ^O dirt dirt hearse-borne once beloved! [illegible] corpse—I see the I guess reckon [think?] [mind?] less you very are a good manure
—but that I do not smell—

—I smell the your beautiful white

I kiss their soft ^your leafy lips—I reach slide my
hands for the brown melons
of your breasts.—

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