"ONE SONG, AMERICA, BEFORE I GO": FIRST EDITION OF WALT WHITMAN'S TWO RIVULETS, WITH ALBUMEN PHOTOGRAPH INSCRIBED BY HIM
WHITMAN, Walt. Two Rivulets; Including Democratic Vistas, Centennial Songs, and Passage to India. Camden, New Jersey: Author's Edition, 1876. Octavo, original three-quarter cream calf, brown calf spine label, marbled boards, yellow coated endpapers. $6000.
First and only edition, one of only 600 copies of the second printing (from a total edition of only about 700), boldly inscribed by America's good gray poet on the original albumen photograph portrait that serves as a frontispiece, "Walt Whitman born May 31, 1819"—an excellent copy in original binding.
"On 2 May 1875, Whitman announced: 'I shall… bring out a volume this summer, partly as my own contribution to our National Centennial. It is to be called Two Rivulets - (i.e. two flowing chains of prose and verse, emanating the real and ideal)[.] It will embody much that I had previously written & that you know, but about one-third, as I guess, that is fresh" (Myerson, 196). The book contains Two Rivulets, Democratic Vistas, Centennial Songs-1876, As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free, Memoranda During the War and Passage to India. The first printing consisted of only 100 copies; this second printing, issued a few months later, with numerous revisions, consisted of only about 600. Binding A (no priority determined), as often found on the second printing. With single leaf of advertisements for Whitman's books inserted between rear flyleaves, as called for. Myerson A.9.1.a. BAL 21411. Bookplate.
The soft calf leather used to bind this book is prone to wear and discoloration—this copy is still quite bright and fresh. A desirable, very nearly fine copy of this scarce signed edition.