Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John and Ursula Burroughs, 18 August [1874]

Date: August 18, 1874

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00354

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, 1961–1977), 2:312–313. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

431 Stevens st. / cor West. / Camden, / N. Jersey.
Aug. 18.1

Dear John & 'Sula Burroughs,

The interval of some weeks, (or is it months?) since I last wrote you2 has passed on, bringing no decided change in my condition—in my bad spells, (& I have them often enough) I 'most think the end is not far off—but I get over them & my natural buoyancy reässerts itself—(& in the main keeps control of the helm)—though to a man of my lazy-activity this whole condition & sickness of mine is very wearing—

To-day I am feeling very comfortable, sitting here in the front room by the open window writing this—eat this morning quite a respectable breakfast, beefsteak, bread, & tea—& at about 3 shall make a light, moderate bite of dinner—no supper—I find I get along best with one pretty fair-meal only, & that I make breakfast—The gastric & dyspeptic trouble has been serious, & is perhaps so yet—pains in left side, distress in head, &c—the old story—

John Swinton came down from N.Y. & spent Sunday with me—told me lots of N.Y. newspaper news, &c.—it was a very welcome visit to me.

I was discharged from my clerkship on the last of June, by B. Wilson, the new Solicitor of the Treasury—(it is all right)—All questions of what I shall do are to me so subordinate to the question of whether I shall soon or ever get well, (or partially well,) that I hardly entertain them seriously—I enclose you Tennyson's latest letter to me3—also a slip Swinton gave me—Send them both back in your next letter—Eldridge is in Boston on his vacation—I expect a visit from him in about 12 days, on his way back—Best love to you both, & I shall be with you yet, I have no doubt.



1. The reference to his dismissal from his government post establishes the year. [back]

2. Whitman last wrote to John Burroughs on June 5, 1874[back]

3. Whitman refers to the letter Tennyson sent on July 8, 1874[back]


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