Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Frederick Locker-Lampson to Walt Whitman, 7 April 1880

Date: April 7, 1880

Whitman Archive ID: med.00641

Source: The location of the original manuscript is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Man, ed. Thomas Donaldson (New York: Francis P. Harper, 1896), 236–237. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Stefan Schöberlein, and Nicole Gray

25 Chesham Street, S. W.,
Belgrave Square,
April 7, 1880.

Dear Mr. Whitman:

Thank you very much for the "Two Rivulets," which came sparkling, and dancing, and babbling into my house this morning.1 I have long been acquainted with your writings, and have taken a great interest in them. I wish you had given me a line to say what you were doing, and how you were. I trust the world uses you fairly well, but I do not think it is a world that is much to boast about. Mr. Tennyson2 has been in London for the last six weeks, and now he has gone to his home in the Isle of Wight. I have often heard him speak of you, and about you, in a way that would be gratifying to you, as "Walt Whitman, the Poet," and "Walt Whitman, the man," and I like your portrait. It reminds me a little of that of Isaac Walton.3

I am, very sincerely yours,
Frederick Locker.


1. Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821–1895), an English poet, corresponded with Whitman in 1880 (see the letter from Whitman to Locker-Lampson of March 21, 1880). [back]

2. 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]

3. Izaak Walton was a seventeenth-century British writer, mainly known as the author of The Compleat Angler, first published in 1653. [back]


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