Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Mrs. C. S. Haley to Walt Whitman, [21 September 1888]

Date: [September 21, 1888]

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02247

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 Jan 14, 1889," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Ashlyn Stewart, Jeannette Schollaert, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, Marie Ernster, and Stephanie Blalock

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Mr Whitman1

Although a stranger to you I wish to say through the medium of my pen that I have become interested in your welfare through your writings which for years I have clipped from papers. I also have a woodcut of your face. And as I have recently learned by the Press, of your ill health, I would with your permission offer you tenderest sympathy.

Mrs C. S. Haley

Dalton Mass.


Human life is an enigma;
Who himself can understand?
Everything that has existed;
Came by some mysterious hand.2

Here we are on life's great ocean;
Tossed about by winds and waves;
Soon like millions gone before us.
We shall sleep within our graves

Like rare pearls in deepest caverns,
In the heart, deep hidden, lies
Sad regrets and thoughts to sacred
To be seen by mortal eyes

Thus we live; misjudged and censured;
While the bursting heart and brain
Strive to bear with cheerful faces,
All this bitter woe and pain.

Will there be a grand unfoldment;
Will these mysteries be made plain?
When man dies, who can tell us;
Will he he rise to life again?


As yet we have no information about this correspondent.


1. This letter is addressed: Walt. Whitman | Poet | Camden, N.J. It is postmarked Dalton | Sep 21 1888 | Mass; NY | 9-21-88 | 8PM; Camden, N.J. | Sep | 22 | 6AM | 88 ] Rec'd. On the left side of the front of the envelope, Haley has written: "If not called for in 10 days return to Mrs C.S. Haley—Dalton Mass." [back]

2. The word "OVER" is written in the bottom right corner of this page. [back]


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