In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Others may praise what they like

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: About 1865

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00079

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, a draft of "Others May Praise What They Like," was likely written shortly before the poem's publication in Drum Taps (1865). Perhaps because this poem did not treat the war, Whitman moved it from Drum-Taps into Passage to India, and ultimately into the "Autumn Rivulets" cluster of Leaves of Grass.

Related item: On the back of this leaf is a crossed-out fragment of an undated draft letter to an unspecified correspondent. Although Ted Genoways has dated this letter (and the manuscript draft) to late 1879 or early 1880, just after Whitman's trip to the western U.S. in 1879 (The Correspondence [Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004], 57), it seems more likely that the draft letter is probably from 1860 and meant for Thayer and Eldridge. When Whitman was preparing the third edition of Leaves of Grass, he was eager to have his publishers press for sales in the west. In his anonymous self-review, "All About a Mocking-Bird," Whitman said of his new volume: "The market needs to-day to be supplied—the great West especially—with copious thousands of copies" (New York Saturday Press [7 January 1860], 3). See yal.00433.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Andrew Jewell, Kenneth Price, Brett Barney, Elizabeth Lorang, Lisa Renfro, Stacey Berry, and Farrah Lehman

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Others may praise what
they like.

Others may praise what they

But I, from the banks of the
running Missouri, praise
nothing, in art or aught

Till it has breathed of the
atmosphere of this river,
or of the prairies of Illinois
& Indiana,

And fully exudes it again.

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

[Page image:]


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