Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 9 February [1883]

Date: February 9, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01146

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.

Notes for this letter were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented, updated, or created by Whitman Archive staff as appropriate.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

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Feb: 9 p m

Too bad—too vexatious—Wednesday forenoon was so dismal & slippery—& I not at all well—(am having some bad spells lately)—thought you would on not finding me at McKay's come right over here, as it is only 20 minutes to get here, & the cars pass my door—look'd for you all the afternoon—the sorest pinch is I feel now it is all my bungling fault.2

—Nothing very new to write about—McKay and Dr Bucke are in treaty about the Dr's book, with the probability of Mc publishing it3

To-day, afternoon feels like a precursor of spring so fresh & sunny—I am not busy at any thing particular—(Seem to be like a skipper who has come into port at last & discharged cargo—& don't know what next.) Who did you see in New York? And exactly how are you? Write soon—& freely

Yours as always
Walt Whitman4


1. This letter is addressed: John Burroughs | Esopus-on-Hudson | New York. It is postmarked: Camden | Feb | 9 | 4 PM | N.J. [back]

2. Burroughs was in Philadelphia on Wednesday, February 7 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

3. Whitman noted on January 31 that McKay sent over Richard Maurice Bucke's manuscript of his biography. On February 8 the poet returned to Bucke "$200 borrowed last fall" (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]

4. On the back of the envelope for this letter, the following is written in pencil (probably in the hand of John Burroughs): "And down it came in drops—the smallest fit | To drown a bee in fox-glove bell concealed | Hartley Coleridge." [back]


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