In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: hexameters

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1860

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00603

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: These notes about verse forms are similar to notes in "dithyrambic trochee," a manuscript currently housed at Rutgers University. Edward Grier posits that the Rutgers manuscript probably dates to around 1856, when Whitman was pursuing a self-education in poetry (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:355–356). These manuscript notes may also date to that period, although the draft lines on the reverse of the leaf, which were probably written before 1855, may suggest a slightly earlier date.

Related item: Draft lines on the back of this manuscript leaf relate to the poem ultimately titled "Song of Myself." See uva.00263.

Notes written on manuscript: On leaf 1 recto, in unknown hand: "13"

Contributors to digital file: Caitlin Henry and Nicole Gray

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hexameters—verses whose lines are six poetic feet, either dactyls or spondees

"Then when An1dromache2 ended, said3 tall bright4 helmeted5

All thy cares, dear wife, are partaken by me—but above them!

dactyl, a poetic foot of one long and two short syllables

Aurora now Oft at the—close of the—day when the

Spondee—a poetic foot of two long syllables

Auro, ra now, fain daugh, ter of, the dawn,

Pentameter, having five regular feet, (as the line immediately above,)
Iambus—two short syllables
Trochee—a long and a short syllable

Exult, ingtrem, blingfaint, ingdy, ing

Possessd byall themuse 's paint ing

[cut away]

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