Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: John Burroughs to Walt Whitman, 14 March 1881

Date: March 14, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01137

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "See notes Apr 17 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Vince Moran, Eder Jaramillo, Grace Thomas, and Nicole Gray

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Esopus N.Y.
Mch 14, 1881

Dear Walt:

I send you a little remembrancer—enough to pay your expenses up here when you get ready to come, which I hope will be before long. I have recd reminders from you from time to time in the shape of papers &c, which I have been glad to get. I see about all that is in the Tribune as I take the semi-weekly The sketch of Carlyle in the London paper was the best I have seen, your own words upon his death were very noble & touching. It was a proper thing for you to do & it became you well The more one reads & knows of Carlyle the more one loves & reverences him. He was worth all other Britains put together to me. What have we to do with his opinions? He was a towering & god like man & that was enough. He is to be judged as a poet & prophet, & not as a molder of opinion. He was better & greater than any opinion he could have. His style too I would not have different True it was not the "Mary-had-a-little-lamb" style of most of his critics, any more than your own prose style is, but grand & manly & full of thunder & lightning.

The robins are just here, & the ice on the river is moving this afternoon, bag & baggage. Ursula is still in N.Y. but is doing pretty well & hopes to be home soon. Julian & I have all sorts of ups & downs. I am correcting the proof of Pepacton & writing an article for Scrib on Thoreau. I first wrote them a notice of his Journal just published, which they were pleased to say was too good for a book notice & that I must make a body article out of it &c. Scrib. has displayed some remarkable journalistic enterprise lately—they have got from Emerson his article on Carlyle for their May no. This is sub rosa & is not for the public yet. I enclose you a slip of the article or lecture which you may have seen. I do not think his trip hammer with the Aeolian attachment figure conceived in the highest spirit. It is so preposterous & impossible that it spoils it for me, but it raps soundly upon the attention for a moment, & I suppose that is enough for his purpose.

Let me hear from you
John Burroughs

I hope your cloud lifts as spring comes & that you are better. If you see young Kennedy tell him I will write to him again by & by. I guess he is a good fellow, but he needs hetcheling to get the toe out the flax. How do you like him? I shall want a set of your books by & by.


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