Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 29 August [1879]

Date: August 29, 1879

Whitman Archive ID: med.00686

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1964), 3:163. 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, Grace Thomas, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, Kirsten Clawson, and Nicole Gray

Aug 29

Dear Jack

As I sit here—the weather is now perfect, day & night—I have jotted off the enclosed & send you—(of course use it or not.)1 Your letter arrived with the enclosures. I keep well—go out most every day. I suppose you rec'd the Tribune (27th I think) with your letter in, which I sent you2—& the other papers I occasionally send. No news particular—I sell a book now & then—

No, I have not been to any watering place—they are no company for me—the cities magnificent for their complex play & oceans of eager human faces—But the country or sea for me in some sparse place, old barn & farm house—or bleak sea shore—nobody round—Meanwhile I get along very well here—



1. Whitman enclosed a note for inclusion in Burroughs's article, "Nature and the Poets," in which he discussed his own poetry and quoted John Addington Symonds's opinion that Whitman "is more thoroughly Greek than any man of modern times!" (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 111, also quotes Burroughs's adaptation of the passage). Whitman reread Symonds's Greek Poets while he was at Esopus in April (Specimen Days, ed. Floyd Stovall [New York: New York University Press, 1963], 340). Burroughs's article appeared in Scribner's Monthly, 19 (December 1879), 285–295, and later in Pepacton (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1881). [back]

2. Burroughs's "Harvest Time." On August 24, Burroughs mentioned sending a "Pastoral Letter" to the New York Tribune (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, December 7, 1888, 260). [back]


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