Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: W. J. O'Reardon to Walt Whitman, 1 June 1889

Date: June 1, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02924

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, Caterina Bernardini, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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New York.1
345 East 17th Street.
June 1/89.

Walt Whitman, Esq.
Esteemed Sir:

I send you greeting, in the enclosed lines, on the advent of your birthday, and beg to subscribe myself very sincerely yours.

W. J. O'Reardon.


The onward march of Time finds thee serene.
Thy sturdy soul is still aspiring high:
And on the mountain top where fame abides
Thou hast long stood, respected and revered.
Upon thy brow the light of genius shone:
New paths in Poesy's mysterious meads
Were trod by thee with vigorous step and [share?]
And with the light that beams in beauty's eye.
Thy fervid thoughts were born to sweetly bloom,
And bring a solace to the human heart.
That striving to be free beholds in thee
A grand embodiment of manly virtues.
The wish is mine that many be thy years,
From many of the ills of life entire bereft—
Soft sunshine in thy heart find a large place.
And Health each day its mystic mantle spread
Before thy vision, like a crystal sea,
Whose power renews the glory of thy youth.

W. J. O'Reardon.

Very little is known about W. J. O'Reardon. He published at least one poem titled "Man"—a humorous meditation on human nature—that was reprinted in several newspapers in the late 1880s. He sent the verses enclosed with this letter to Whitman at the time of the poet's seventieth birthday. Horace Traubel referred to O'Reardon as "a New Yorker" and noted that Whitman kept O'Reardon's "greeting," since it was still "intact" as late as December 13, 1889 (Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, December 13, 1889).


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman, Esq | Camden, | New Jersey. It is postmarked: New York | Jun 1| 830PM | D; Camden, NJ | Jun [illegible] | 1pm | 1889 | Rec'd | NY | 6-1-89 | [illegible]pm | [illegible] [back]


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