Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

NOTES  310–319

310. One Sweeps By

Published as part of “Debris” in 1860.

311. What Weeping Face

Published as part of “Debris” in 1860.

312. I will Take an Egg Out of the Robin’s Nest

Published as part of “Debris” in 1860.

313. Behavior

Published as part of “Debris” in 1860.

314. I Thought I was not Alone

Published as part of “Debris” in 1860.

315. Inscription

First published in 1867; not again published till 1888.

316. Not My Enemies Ever Invade Me

Published in “When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d,” 1865–6.

317. Great are the Myths

First published in 1855. In edition of 1856 under title of “Poem of a few Greatnesses.” In 1860 as No. 2 “Leaves of Grass,” page 199. In 1867 ’70 under title as above.

  l. 5  1855 ’56 ’60 after line 5 read:

“Yours is the muscle of life or death—yours is the perfect science—in you I have absolute faith.

Great is To-day, and beautiful,
It is good to live in this age—there never was any better.

Great are the plunges, throes, triumphs, downfalls of Democracy,
Great the reformers, with their lapses and screams,
Great the daring and venture of sailors, on new explorations.

Great are Yourself and Myself,
We are just as good and bad as the oldest and youngest or any,
What the best and worst did, we could do,
What they felt, do not we feel it in ourselves?
What they wished, do we not wish the same?”

  l. 6  Line 6 added in 1867.

  l. 17  1855 ’56 ’60. After line 17 read

“That the true adoration is likewise without words and without kneeling.
Great is the greatest Nation—the nation of clusters of equal nations.”

  l. 20  “before man had appear’d” added in 1860.

  l. 27  1855 ’56 read “O truth of the earth! O truth of things! I am determined to press my whole way toward you.” 1860 ’67 read “O truth of the earth! O truth of things! I am determined to press my way toward you.”

  l. 36  1855 ’56 ’60 ’67 for “few old” read “old few.”

  l. 37  1855 ’56. After line 37 read “Great are marriage, commerce, newspapers, books, free-trade, railroads, steamers, international mails, telegraphs, exchanges.” 1860 reads as above, omitting “marriage.”

  l. 42  1855 ’56 ’60 for “is it” read “it is.”

  l. 46  After line 46, 1855 ’56 ’60 read:

“Great is Goodness!
I do not know what it is, any more than I know what health is—but I know it is great.

Great is Wickedness—I find I often admire it, just as much as I admire goodness.
Do you call that a paradox? It certainly is a paradox.
The eternal equilibrium of things is great, and the eternal overthrow of things is great,
And there is another paradox.

Great is Life, real and mystical, wherever and whoever,
Great is Death—sure as Life holds all parts together, Death holds all parts together.”

  1855 closes poem with “Sure as the stars return again after they merge in the light, death is great as life.” 1856 ’60 omit above line and add:

“Death has just as much purport as Life has.
Do you enjoy what Life confers? you shall enjoy what Death confers.
I do not understand the realities of Death, but I know they are great;
I do not understand the least reality of Life—how then can I understand the realities of Death?”

318. Poem of Remembrance for a Girl or a Boy

First published in 1856.

  l. 1  Line 1 added in 1860.

319. Think of the Soul

First published in 1856. In that edition and in 1860 it is a continuation of “Poem of Remembrance,” that part being discarded in the 1870 edition.


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