Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: W.J. Hensley to Walt Whitman, 6 March 1888

Date: March 6, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07879

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: Ashlyn Stewart, Breanna Himschoot, Brandon James O'Neil, and Stephanie Blalock



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The Mount Lodge,
St Leonard.
6. 3. 88.

Dear Sir,

Inspired by a perusal of some of your leaves of grass, especially "Starting from Paumanok," "Song of the Open Road" & "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, I dashed off the enclosed Sonnet, which I take the liberty of send to you, the rather to gratify my own pride, than to expect that you will esteem such a faulty production to be an honour.

I hope you will not consider me to be taking a liberty, but merely to be paying a somewhat antiquated tribute (spontaneously) to the honour of a great genius.

Yours respectfully,
W.J. Hensley

"I dream'd a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I dreamed that was the new city of friends."1

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However I think it better to leave it as it is—

To a Prophet.

Whitman, thy earnest cries have reached our shore,
Thou prophet of the old, & new En-Masse:
From world to world the glorious tidings pass,
Of which down-trodden mortals scarce before
Did dream, or if they did, with fire and gore
Raised Hell on Earth by setting class 'gainst class;
Thus crushing Freedom at her birth, alas!
And ripping up the mother that her bore.

But thou dost teach a common Brotherhood,
The Present joins the Past, the East the West,
And from their union spring a perfect brood,
Bound by the sacred ties of Comradeship,
To purify our Earth from Error's pest,
Till her last Sun in waves eternal dip.

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Correspondent:
As yet we have no information about this correspondent.

Notes:

1. Hensley is referring to Section 34 of the "Calamus" cluster of poems, which would later be entitled I Dreamed in a Dream[back]


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