Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas Gibbons to Walt Whitman, 2 September 1874

Date: September 2, 1874

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02117

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.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Eder Jaramillo, John Schwaninger, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Caterina Bernardini, Marie Ernster, Noelle Bates, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

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U.S. Gunboat "Monocacy"
Shanghai, China
Septemr 2. 1874.

My Dear Sir,

Last February, from Hong Kong, I sent you a line or two regarding an original edition of "Leaves of Grass." Have been able to ascertain where a copy may be got? I am very anxious to obtain one.

Will you oblige me—for a friend—with a copy of annexed lines in your autograph?—on any scrap of paper.

With best wishes, I remain, your unseen friend, in faith, hope, and charity,
Thomas Gibbons

Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells!
But I, with silent Tread,
Walk the spot my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.1

As yet we have no information about this correspondent.


1. Whitman's poem "O Captain! My Captain!," an elegy for Abraham Lincoln, was one of Whitman's most popular, although it was atypical of his verse and style (the rhyme, meter, stanza and refrain are conventional, and the poem makes use of traditional metaphors). "O Captain! My Captain!" was first published in The New-York Saturday Press on November 4, 1865, and it was reprinted in Sequel to Drum-Taps (1865–1866). For more information on the poem, see Gregory Eiselein, "'O Captain! My Captain!' [1865]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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