With Walt Whitman in Camden, by Horace Traubel

The Epigraphs

Horace Traubel selected the following quotations from his conversations with Walt Whitman as epigraphs for the three volumes he published in his own lifetime:

Volume 1

"Be sure to write about me honest: whatever you do do not prettify me: include all the hells and damns."

Volume 2

"It won't be long and I will be dead and gone: then they will hale you into court--put you into the witness box--ply you with questions--try to mix you up with questions: this Walt Whitman--this scamp poet--this arch-pretender--what did you make him out to be? and you will have to answer--and be sure you answer honest, so help you God!"

"You'll be speaking for me many a time after I am dead: do not be afraid to tell the truth--any sort of truth good or bad, for or against: only be afraid not to tell the truth."

Volume 3

"I want you to be in possession of data which will equip you after I am gone for making statements, that sort of thing, when necessary. I can't sit down offhand and dictate the story to you, but I can talk with you and give you the documentary evidence here and there, adding a little every day, so as to finally graduate you for the job."

. . . . . .

"I don't choose you as a biographer: or anything of that sort--as an authority for this or that: that woud n't be an honor, it would only be a burden, to you: no, not that: I only in a sense put certain materials in your hands to use at discretion."

. . . . . .

"I am disposed to trust myself more and more to your younger body and spirit, knowing, as I do, that you love me, that you will not betray me--more than that (and in a way better than that) that you understand me and can be depended upon to represent me not only vehemently but with authority."