Title: William D. O'Connor to Walt Whitman, 4 April 1883
Date: April 4, 1883
Editorial note: The annotation, "see notes Apr 25 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.
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: med.00707
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Alex Kinnaman, Natalie O'Neal, and Nicole Gray
April 4, 1883.
I arrived here last night, ill and exhausted. The parting at Providence was hard. I fear I shall never see Jeannie well again.
Although I had a racking headache all the way, I spent the time in the cars reading the proof, which I herewith return corrected. I have followed your wishes, and made only verbal corrections, which I wish you would see carried out carefully by the printer, as I know you will.
Of course I yield about the paragraphs, although I can't think I shall ever like them. No matter: the text is the main thing, and every consideration is swallowed up in the consciousness that you like what I have written—that you feel that my utterance has power, and fills the bill. I hope, for your sake, that the public will think so also.
My principal corrections—the ones I feel specially desirous to have made are as follows:
I. Page 78. Small k in the word "knights. The obstinate printer has twice made this a large K, the effect of which is absurd.
II. Page 82. "Quaternion," not "quarternion."
III. Page 82. "Irresponsible." The allusion, which is one George William will keenly feel, is to Tennyson's "O irresponsible, indolent reviewers," which is very witty, and sticks to the tribe like a burr.
IV. Page 86. "And it is grand." I think italicising "is," helps the sense.
V. Page 92. I hope I don't bother the printer, but the change here is necessary, for this is the passage I wrote you about, and I don't want to be picked up by some malevolent reviewer. Please see to this yourself, if you can. It should read "to ride with bared head in the warm and perfumed rains of Spring that he might feel upon him, he said, the universal spirit of the world." (How this anecdote reveals the poet in Bacon!—how it allies him to the Shakespeare literature!)
VI. Page 94. I am not sure I understand the printer's mark here. But there should be a paragraph—which I think the fiend tried to abolish.
VII. Page 95. "Furthest," not "furtherest," good printer-devil!
The Good Gray Poet.
VIII. Bucke sent me my foot-note, and I have made the change (Page 100.). I think it better, and the five words which commence it, are a blow at Lowell, planted straight home.
IX. Page 113. I hope it won't bother the printer to take out Munro's name. I don't know how I ever made such a blunder. Munro's translation (prose) is really admirable for courage and fidelity, so far as I can judge
X. Page 124. For heaven's sake, make the diabolical printer-man restore the two articles—"the" and "the"—to their proper places! The effect of the sentence is ruined by their elision.
The remaining corrections are trifles.
I'll write again soon. This is hurried, to go off with the proof, which I don't want to delay.
Bucke wrote me to find an epigraph for the appendix—leaving the matter entirely to me!!! So you didn't make anything by soliciting him. As yet I have not been able to think of anything—in fact, I have been in too much trouble to think effectually—that is to give my mind to it.
More anon. Have you seen Grant White's article in the Atlantic for April on the Bacon-Shakespeare craze? It is rich. Supercilious ass!
W D O'C