Title: Morley C. Roberts to Walt Whitman, 12 December 1886
Date: December 12, 1886
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953), 3:466–467. 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.07038
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock
14 The Grove, Clapham Common,
London, S. W.,
Dec. 12, '86.
I have but lately read your poems, Leaves of Grass, but I find in them so much encouragement and hope, and such a great personality, that I write to express my simple thanks for the gift of the book and the great thoughts in it. Though I belong to England, and am English heart and soul, I know your America, who finds in you her first poetical expression, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from New York to Texas, and Minnesota, and the great West, Oregon, Washington, and California. I have toiled and travelled thousands of miles on the Pacific slope, and only regret that I had not Leaves of Grass with me to make me see even more than I did in three years of arduous struggle. But I thank you now, and with all sincerity, for a new religion and the knowledge of a great personality. In all events to come for me, you have had a great influence,1
and I am, dear sir, yours gratefully
Morley C. Roberts
Morley C. Roberts (1857–1942) was a well-travelled English novelist who had visited, among other places, Australia and South Africa and incorporated elements from his trips into his fiction.
1. While there is no record of Whitman responding to Roberts, he did call the letter "fragrant and beautiful" when discussing it with Horace Traubel (With Walt Whitman in Camden, Saturday, January 5, 1889). [back]