Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

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

NOTES  210–219

210. As I Watch’d the Ploughman Ploughing

First published in 1870.

211. Pensive and Faltering

First published in 1870.

212. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking

First published in 1860; in that and 1867 under title of “A Word Out of the Sea.”

  l. 1  1860 ’67 read “Out of the rock’d cradle.”

  l. 2  After line 2, 1860 adds “Out of the boy’s mother’s womb, and from the nipples of her breasts.”

  l. 24  “when the lilac-scent was in the air” added in 1870.

  l. 40  1856 ’60 read “If we two but keep together.”

  l. 95  “O trembling throat!” added in 1867.

  l. 125  1860 reads “Murmur! murmur on!”

  l. 127  1860 reads “O past! O joy!”

  l. 130  1860 reads “Loved—but no more with me.”

  l. 134  1860 reads “the notes of the wondrous bird echoing.”

  l. 135  1860 reads “yet, as ever, incessantly moaning.”

  l. 146  “Demon or” added in 1867.

  l. 154  1860 reads “O throes! O you demon, singing,” etc.

  l. 160  1860 reads “The dusky demon aroused,” etc.

  l. 162  1860 reads “some clew!” “(it lurks in the night here somewhere;)” added in 1867.

  l. 175  “Whereto” added in 1867.

  l. 178  1860 reads “Lisp’d to me constantly,” etc.

  l. 182  “and laving me softly all over” added in 1867.

  l. 185  1860 reads “But fuse the song of two together.”

  l. 186  1860 reads “That was sung to me,” etc.

213. Elemental Drifts

First published in 1860.

  l. 2  1860 ’67 read “O I wish,” etc.

  1860 ’67 read “as you and the waves have just,” etc.

  l. 5  1860 ’67 read “sea-ripples.”

  l. 9  1860 reads “Alone, held by the eternal Self of me, that threatens to get the better of me, and stifle me.”

  l. 23  After line 23, 1860 reads “At once I find the least thing that belongs to me, or that I see or touch, I know not.”

  l. 27  1860 adds “here preceding what follows.”

  l. 32  1860 adds “or shall write.”

  l. 33  1860 reads “Striking me with insults till I fall helpless upon the sand.”

  l. 35  After line 35, 1860 reads “Because I was assuming so much.”

  l. 37  1860 reads

“You oceans both! You tangible land! Nature!
Be not too rough with me—I submit—I close with you.”

  l. 38  Line 38 added in 1870.

  l. 39  1860 ’67 read “These little shreds shall, indeed, stand for all.”

  l. 52  After line 52, 1860 adds

“For I fear I shall become crazed, if I cannot emulate it, and utter myself as well as it.

Sea-raff! Crook-tongued waves,
O, I will yet sing, some day, what you have said to me.”

214. Tears

First published in 1867.

215. Aboard at a Ship’s Helm

First published in 1867.

216. On the Beach at Night

First published in 1870.

217. World Below the Brine, The

First published in 1867.

218. On the Beach at Night, Alone

First published in 1856, under title of “Clef Poem.”

  l. 1  1856 ’60 begin the poem “This Night I am happy.” Line 1 added in 1867.

  l. 2  Line 2 added in 1860, which reads “As I walk the beach where the old mother sways to and fro, singing her savage and husky song.”

  l. 3  After line 3, 1856 ’60 add:

“What can the future bring me more than I have?
Do you suppose I wish to enjoy life in other spheres?

I say distinctly I comprehend no better sphere than this earth,
I comprehend no better life than the life of my body.

I do not know what follows the death of my body,
But I know well that whatever it is, it is best for me,
And I know well that whatever is really Me shall live just as much as before.

I am not uneasy but I shall have good housing to myself,
But this is my first—how can I like the rest any better?
Here I grew up—the studs and rafters are grown parts of me.

I am not uneasy but I am to be beloved by young and old men, and to love them the same,
I suppose the pink nipples of the breasts of women with whom I shall sleep will taste the same to my lips, [1860 reads “will touch the side of my face the same.”]
But this is the nipple of a breast of my mother, always near and always divine to me, her true child and son, whatever comes. [Whatever comes” added in 1860.]

I suppose I am to be eligible to visit the stars, in my time,
I suppose I shall have myriads of new experiences—and that the experience of this earth will prove only one out of myriads;
But I believe my body and my Soul already indicate those experiences,
And I believe I shall find nothing in the stars more majestic and beautiful than I have already found on the earth,
And I believe I have this night a clew through the universes,
And I believe I have this night thought a thought of the clef of eternity.”

  l. 15  “and enclose them” added in 1870.

219. A Carol of Harvest, for 1867

First published in 1870.


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