Translator's Note

In the first three editions of Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1855, 1856, 1860), the line in "Song of Myself" that Mir echoes in his "Countersong" reads "Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos" (kosmos being a word of particular import, hypothesizing the sublime order of the universe) and in later editions, the line reads "Walt Whitman am I, a Kosmos, of mighty Manhattan the son." The final form of the line, which appears below, opens section 24 of "Song of Myself" in the seventh edition of his Leaves (188182):

Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son,
Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding,
No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from
No more modest than immodest.

Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!

Whoever degrades another degrades me,
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.

Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the current
        and index.

I speak the password primeval, I give the sign of democracy,
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their
        counterpart of on the same terms.…

[Back to Countersong]