In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Last of ebb

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: 1885

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00046

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 draft of the poem "Last of Ebb, and Daylight Waning," first published in the "Fancies at Navesink" sequence of poems in the August 1885 issue of Nineteenth Century. Whitman probably composed this manuscript shortly before its publication in 1885.

Related item: On the back of the first leaf is a letter from J. M. Rollo to Whitman dated January 12, 1885.

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

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At the Mouth of the River

Last of the the ebb, and daylight waning,

Scented sea‑breaths landward making—smells
of the salt and sedge incoming,

While many the a half‑caught voice sound comes up from
those frantic the whirls and eddies,

Many the a muffled confession, many a the a sob
and whispering word,

As of speakers voices speakers far or hid.

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How they sweep down and out! how
they mutter!

Hopes Pride of youth manhood——tones of the dying—
athe chorus of age's complaints—feverish
love,—the last, —hope's last bitter words,

[paper glued]

Haply the The heHeroes unknown, unnamed, borne down off— the poets
and artists unknown, yet
greater than any, known

[paper glued]

Some suicide's despair's beguiling words, cry, and wish,
Away Away tTo the boundless waste, and to and
never again

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So ^ Hold ye so many burnt-out lives, O ye drowning tide ^ and waning fading light !?

Such ventures, —such aspirations lost? such failures?

On # (On! ! on to oblivion,, # then! ^ ye ventures aspirations lost [aspirations?] On, more quickly quicker
on quicker yet yet, ye sweltering, whirling, shrouding
waters!) ebb!) waters!)

On to oblivion then! ^on quicker, quicker yet on, quicker yet, on ye sweltering shrouding watersr

^ (On for your time ye furious debouché! On, quicker yet

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