Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Richard W. Colles, 18 November 1886

Date: November 18, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01303

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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "letter sent to R W Colles, Dublin | Nov: 18 '1886," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton

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Yours of 31st and 1st rec'd.1 I send the two Vols: of '76 Ed'n. I should accept with thanks from your hands any contribution from my Irish friends (Prof. Edw'd Dowden has already contributed liberally, & should not be solicited any further) Take leisure and ease ab't it & let it amount to what it may—or naught at all, if Destiny so disposes.2

(tr to last3 Send me word if the two Vols. reach you safely. The price is £2,4 which please remit me by p. o. order.)

Yes, I should like to see the article in the Quarterly.5 My late bad spell of sickness seems to have passed over—I was out driving yesterday the three sunny midday hours, & enjoyed them much.6

Richard W. Colles was probably one of the many students of Edward Dowden who became fervid admirers of Whitman. For more, see Philip W. Leon, "Dowden, Edward (1843–1913)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This is a draft letter. [back]

2. On November 9 Herbert Gilchrist sent a gift of ten shillings from Colles with the following excerpt from Colles's letter: "You will kindly consider it annual & I hope not only to increase the sum but have the great pleasure of sending it for many years." See also the letter from Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist of December 12, 1886[back]

3. Whitman indicates at this point of the draft that he intended to transfer the following passage to the end of the letter when he wrote the actual letter that was sent. [back]

4. Whitman struck out "$10." [back]

5. The British Quarterly Review for October contained an article on "American Poets" in which Whitman, according to O'Connor's letter from December 10, 1886, received a "glorious tribute." [back]

6. On the verso of this draft, Whitman was drafting a letter to Chatto & Windus, sent on November 18, 1886[back]


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