Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Frederick Locker-Lampson to Walt Whitman, 15 June 1880

Date: June 15, 1880

Whitman Archive ID: man.00035

Source: Charles Sixsmith Collection at the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester. 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: Alicia Meyer, Eder Jaramillo, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Nicole Gray, and Stefan Schöberlein

page image
image 1
page image
image 2
page image
image 3
page image
image 4
page image
image 5
page image
image 6


15 June 1880

My dear Friend

You see I venture to salute you,1 & to write to you in the same strain as that in which you so kindly addressed me in your letter of 26 May, & which I was vy glad to receive. I did get your Riddle Song,2 & was very pleased indeed to have it, & now I have your tribute to Emerson, which is exceedingly interesting. It is pleasant to see you all rallying round the grand old man of letters, but more than of letters.

Alfred Tennyson3 left England about a week ago, for Venice, & he will probably be absent for a month or more. but he shall have the paper on Emerson, & anything else you forward me, [directly?] he returns.

Tennyson has two country houses, & some people might say "therefore no home"! One is "Farringford, Freshwater, Isle of Wight," where he abides for about seven months in the year, the winter especially—& the other is "Aldworth, Haslemere, Surrey", where he spends nearly four months of the summer, & he is usually a month or five weeks in London, in the Early Spring.

I think you must send me anything you would like him to have, & I will make it a duty, as well as a pleasure, to send it on to him at once.

His son, & my son-in-law, Lionel Tennyson, lives in London for some ten months out of the twelve, at 4 Sussex Place, Regents Park, N.W.

I do know Mrs. Gilchrist.4 She is re-editing the Life of Blake,5 & I have a few of his letters, & she has been once or twice in my house to copy them for her book. I am not surprised that you are attached to her. She seemed to me most interesting and intelligent—& it is a great thing to be intelligent, is not it?

I am much interested to hear how you live & feel, taking life cheerfully. I wish we could clasp hands and talk of many matters. Spiritual as well as temporal. but there is a great callous Atlantic betwixt us. but I daresay you would hardly allow that the Atlantic was callous!

Yours [am?] most truly
F. Locker

Camden, New Jersey, U.S.A.


1. Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821–1895), an English poet, corresponded with Whitman in 1880. Locker-Lampson's daughter Eleanor married Lionel Tennyson, younger son of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. [back]

2. See the letter from Whitman to Locker-Lampson of May 26, 1880. "A Riddle Song" appeared in the Tarrytown Sunnyside Press on April 3. [back]

3. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) succeeded William Wordsworth as poet laureate of Great Britain in 1850. The intense male friendship described in In Memoriam, which Tennyson wrote after the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam, possibly influenced Whitman's poetry. Whitman wrote to Tennyson in 1871 or late 1870, probably shortly after the visit of Cyril Flower in December, 1870, but the letter is not extant (see Thomas Donaldson, Walt Whitman the Man [New York: F. P. Harper, 1896], 223). Tennyson's first letter to Whitman is dated July 12, 1871. Although Tennyson extended an invitation for Whitman to visit England, Whitman never acted on the offer. [back]

4. Anne Burrows Gilchrist (1828–1885) was the author of one of the first significant pieces of criticism on Leaves of Grass, titled "A Woman's Estimate of Walt Whitman (From Late Letters by an English Lady to W. M. Rossetti)," The Radical 7 (May 1870), 345–59. Gilchrist's long correspondence with Whitman indicates that she had fallen in love with the poet after reading his work; when the pair met in 1876 when she moved to Philadelphia, Whitman never fully returned her affection, although their friendship deepened after that meeting. For more information on their relationship, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Anne Burrows (1828–1885)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

5. The second edition of Alexander Gilchrist's The Life of William Blake (London: Macmillan and Co., 1880). [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.