In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: With husky‑haughty lips, O Sea!

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Late 1883 or early 1884

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00001

Source: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. 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 is a late draft of "With Husky-Haughty Lips, O Sea!," which was published first in Harper's Monthly in March 1884. The manuscript was probably written in late 1883 or early 1884, shortly before the poem was published.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Nick Krauter, Lisa Renfro, Andrew Jewell, Jennifer R. Overkamp, Kenneth Price, and Brett Barney

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headline Some black or antique if you have it

With husky‑haughty lips, O Sea!

With husky‑haughty lips, O sSea!

Where day and night I wend thy surf‑beat shore,

Imaging to my sense thy varied strange suggestions,

Thy troops of white‑maned racers racing to the goal,

Thy ample smiling face, dash'd with the spark-
ling dimples of the sun,

Thy brooding scowl and murk—thy unloos'd

Thy unsubduedness, caprices, wilfulness;

Great as thou art o'er all, ^art seem'st above the rest, thy many tears—a lack
from all eternity in thy content,

(Naught but the greatest, struggles, sorrows, wrongs, ^ and wrongs, repressions, ^wrongs, defeats,
could make thee greatest—no less could
make thee,)

Thy lonely state—something thou ever seek'st and
seek'st, yet never gain'st,

Some ^Surely some right withheld—some voice, ^in huge monotonous rage, of freedom‑lover
pent,—some huge monotonous rage,

Some vast heart, like a planet's, chain'd and chafing ^in those breakers,

By lengthen'd swell, and spasm, and panting breath,

And rhythmic rasping of thy sands and waves,

And serpent hiss, and savage peals of laughter,

And undertones of distant lion roar,

(Sounding, appealing to the sky's deaf ear—but now
rapport for once,

A phantom in the night thy confidant for once,)

The first and last confession of the globe,

Outsurging, muttering from thy soul's abysms,

The tale of cosmic elemental passion

Thou tellest to a Kindred soul.

Walt Whitman

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