Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Sidney H. Morse, 28 February 1888

Date: February 28, 1888

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:154. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: The location of this manuscript is unknown. Miller derives his transcription from a transcript published in In Re Walt Whitman, ed. Horace Traubel, Richard Maurice Bucke, and Thomas B. Harned (Philadelphia: McKay, 1893), 389.

Whitman Archive ID: med.00836

Contributors to digital file: Ryan Furlong, Alex Ashland, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock




Feb. 28, '88—Noon.

Eakins'1 "pict." is ab't finished—It is a portrait of power and realism, ("a poor, old, blind, despised and dying king").2 Things with me ab't the same. Mrs. D[avis]3 is well—is in the back room working. My canary is singin' away as I write.


Correspondent:
Sidney H. Morse (1832–1903) was a self-taught sculptor as well as a Unitarian minister and, from 1866 to 1872, editor of The Radical. He visited Whitman in Camden many times and made various busts of him. Whitman had commented on an earlier bust by Morse that it was "wretchedly bad." For more on this, see Ruth L. Bohan, Looking into Walt Whitman: American Art, 1850–1920 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006), 105–109.

Notes:

1. Thomas Eakins (1844–1919) was an American painter. His relationship with Whitman was characterized by deep mutual respect, and he soon became a close friend of the poet. For more on Eakins, see Philip W. Leon, "Eakins, Thomas (1844–1916)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. Whitman is referencing the poem "England in 1819" by Percy Bysshe Shelley. [back]

3. Mary Oakes Davis (1837 or 1838–1908) was Whitman's housekeeper. For more, see Carol J. Singley, "Davis, Mary Oakes (1837 or 1838–1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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