… First statement: that the long opening poem, later miscalled “Song of Myself,” is Whitman’s greatest work, perhaps his one completely realized work, and one of the great poems of modern times. Second, that the other eleven poems of the first edition are not on the same level of realization, but nevertheless are examples of Whitman’s freshest and boldest style. At least four of them—their titles in the Deathbed edition are “To Think of Time,” “The Sleepers,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” and “There Was a Child Went Forth”—belong in any selection of his best poems. Third, that the text of the first edition is the purest text for “Song of Myself,” since many of the later corrections were also corruptions of the style and concealments of the original meaning. Fourth, that it is likewise the best text for most of the other eleven poems, but especially for “The Sleepers”—that fantasia of the unconscious—and “I Sing the Body Electric.” And a final statement: that the first edition is a unified work, unlike any later edition, that it gives us a different picture of Whitman’s achievement, and that—considering its very small circulation through the years—it might be called the buried masterpiece of American writing.