Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Richard Maurice Bucke, 23 October [1878]

Date: October 23, 1878

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07005

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1977), 6:18. 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 and Nicole Gray

Camden New Jersey
Oct 231

My dear friend2

Yours of 19th Oct rec'd—(I came up yesterday from the country & found it)—I return you Forman's letter—am glad you sent it me—but have nothing decisive to say at present for myself about New English edition3

Doctor, I want to come to see you & be with you all, truly—& shall do so—but havn't felt the spirit move me the past summer—look for me next summer—

I am well, for me—have had a good summer—

Rec'd a long & kind letter from Tennyson day before yesterday4

As I scribble this (noon) the greatest gale I ever knew seems to be just subsiding—Our town streets are strewed with wrecks, roofs, timbers, trees &c—

Love to you & yours
Walt Whitman5


1. This letter is addressed: Dr R M Bucke | Asylum for the Insane | London Ontario | Canada. It is postmarked: Philadelphia | Oct | 23 | 5 PM | Pa.; London | Oc 25 | 78 | (?). [back]

2. This is the earliest surviving letter to Richard Maurice Bucke, the Canadian physician and mystic, who became one of the poet's closest friends in the later years and an executor of his literary effects after his death. [back]

3. Apparently Bucke sent Whitman's letter to H. Buxton Forman since it was among letters to Forman and Ernest Rhys which were acquired by the Berg Collection. The letters of Bucke and Forman are not known. Once again Forman expressed interest in printing an unabridged edition of Leaves of Grass in England; see the letter from Whitman to Forman of March 26, 1872[back]

4. See the letter from Tennyson to Whitman of August 24, 1878. Whitman did not receive it until October 21 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

5. In this letter Whitman enclosed a printed slip of a poem entitled "Thou Who Hast Slept All Night upon the Storm," with the following notation: "The terrible gale & destruction, here this morning, brings(?) up this little piece to my mind—let me send it as a souvenir." [back]


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