Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Harry Stafford, 25 January 1882

Date: January 25, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03996

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 created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

page image
image 1
page image
image 2

Jan: 25 '82

Dear Harry

Yours rec'd—I am just starting off a few miles out from Phila—probably a day or two only1—will look up the book you require (if I can find one) soon as I come back—& send you—I am ab't as usual—nothing very new—

—Hank if I'd known you was coming home last Sunday would have come down Saturday & staid till Monday any way—You say you wrote a blue letter but didn't send it to me—dear boy the only way is to dash ahead and "whistle dull cares away"—after all its mostly in one's self one gets blue & not from outside—life is like the weather—you've got to take what comes, & you can make it all go pretty well if only think so (& provide in reason for rain & snow)—

—I wish it was so you could all your life come in & see me often for an hour or two—You see I think I understand you better than any one—(& like you more too)—(You may not fancy so, but it is so)—& I believe Hank there are many things, confidences, questions, candid says you would like to have with me, you have never yet broached—me the same—

—Have you read about Oscar Wilde?—He has been to see me & spent an afternoon—He is a fine large handsome youngster—had the good sense to take a great fancy to me!2—I was invited to receptions in Phila. am'g the big bugs & a grand dinner to him by Mr & Mrs Childs—but did not go to any—Awful cold here, this is now the third day,—but you know all about that—(you say you know you are a great fool—don't you know every 'cute fellow secretly knows that about himself—I do)—God bless you my darling boy—Keep a brave heart—



1. There is no reference in Whitman's Commonplace Book to a visit to one of his friends (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). Jeff was with his brother on January 24 and 25, and apparently the poet was in Camden on January 26 and 28. [back]

2. See the letter from Whitman to Oscar Wilde and Joseph M. Stoddart of January 18, 1882. Burroughs, who also met Wilde in 1882, was less impressed (see Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 235). [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.