Title: Robert P. Stewart to Walt Whitman, December 1885
Date: December 1885
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Whitman Archive ID: loc.03698
Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, Kyle Barton, and Nicole Gray
R. P. Stewart
89 Philbeach Gdns
Dear Walt Whitman,
I can give you no title that would not be a mockery. I write this—representing the rising generation to tell you that from us you get what you long for Speechless passionate love I seem to see now through all dark London young men issuing from houses with "Leaves of Grass" in their hands & grandness [& war?] written determinedly on their faces.—I dont know what to say to you—to give you any notion of the good you have done me & again I think I speak for hundreds of my age 21. I have read criticisms reviews of your works & as I half expected none of them had the least idea who you were I believe we will—perhaps when you have gone from us though I trust not be able to vindicate your right to stand alone as the sun of this century & Goethe Kant, Spencer Ruskin & the rest of the mighty will have to live as priceless beautiful satellites, but yet as satellites. For months I have been bursting with things to say to you but now I cannot say a word. In all criticisms upon you the most delightful to me is Ruskins. The marvellous clear vision he has is wonderful & his honesty is wonderful for the leader—in a minor sense—of the opposite school. You dont like being called the leader of a school—but you are if your teaching amounted to no more than— "You must find out for yourself"—If I might be allowed to criticize, I cant make out, why you have said nothing about children—Is not the education of them one of if not the most important thought for the future. I do hope you will yet be spared to say something about this or rather to put a tendency towards children in your book.—I never read or criticize your Book from the standpoint of what the words say, but go to it as I go to the bible in spirit & in truth.—& fish out for myself tendencies which help in curious unexpected ways. Perhaps the most important idea I have got from you in a way I never understood it before is Learn to love I write this chiefly to tell you that the new generation admire you in a very different way from the last. What they may do years hence I dont know—I have left to the end to ask you if it is true the awful rumours going about that you are starving. The thing is too ghastly to be true—Millions & millions of money would never repay the work you have done for us & especially for us young men. I am quite poor myself but could I know get money for you easily if you are in the least want of it. I think I know you well enough to know that you will not mind saying you do want some money if you do. I can hardly expect an answer to this if you do not,—as you must have all your time occupied but if you can find time to write a line telling me how you are I shall be very grateful.
Your very affect friend
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