Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas Hutchinson to Walt Whitman, [13 December] 1889

Date: [December 13], 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02339

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: Kirby Little, Ashlyn Stewart, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

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To Walt Whitman:
With Christmas Greetings, 1889.


"I travel on not knowing,1
I would not if I might;
I would rather walk with God in the dark,
Than go alone in the light;
I would rather walk with him by faith
Than pick my way by sight."

"After the dazzle of day is gone,2
Only the dark, dark night shows to my eyes the stars;
After the clangor of organ majestic, or chorus, or perfect band,
Silent, athwart my soul, moves the symphony true"


Thomas Hutchinson


Thomas Hutchinson (1856–1938) was an English writer and educator, teaching at Northumbria University and the Pegswood school. He published a book of verse, Ballades and other Rhymes of a Country Bookworm (1888). He was also a collector of first editions and publications by notable writers, and the items in the collection that had not been sold previously at auction were later donated by Hutchinson's descendants to Preston Park Museum and Grounds (Charlotte Barro, "Man with Lifelong Love Affair with Literature," Morpeth Herald, January 1, 2016).


1. These lines from the poem "Not Knowing" have been attributed to Mary Gardiner Brainard (1837–1905), a writer of religious poetry. Philip Paul Bliss set the lines to music as a hymn in the 1870s. Whitman quoted parts of these lines in Specimen Days and Collect, but offered no source. [back]

2. Hutchinson here quotes Whitman's "After the Dazzle of Day," first published in the New York Herald (February 3, 1888). See "After the Dazzle of Day"[back]


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