Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: T. F. Macdonald to Walt Whitman, 17 November 1883

Date: November 17, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: syr.00012

Source: Walt Whitman Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library, Syracuse, N.Y. 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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "see notes Jul 21 1889," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

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

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S.S. "Anchoria"
Anchor Line
New York
Nov. 17th./83

Dear Poet,

I have been home and back again since I called upon you in Philadelphia last month. I often think of you and wish I could stay near you, that I might see and speak to you sometimes, however, I often read your poems and as Shelley has said, "Poetry is the record of the greatest happiest moments, of our greatest and best minds." Therefore in reading your book I feel that I have that which is greatest in you, but the heart will often rebel against the most logical conclusion, and thus with me I would like to be near you sometimes. I have only one other friend who has the same power over me, and that is he of whom I told you in Halifax. I was rather amused (when I told some of my friends at home that I had seen you), at the ideas they seemed to have of my object in calling on you. Some thought it was simply because you were a great man, and they gave me addresses of several well known men in Literature &c. however, I told them these other men were not Walt Whitman and that the only others I would have crossed the Atlantic to see would have been Emerson and Thoreau both of whom are very dear to me.

You may have forgotten all about me: indeed it would be surprising to find it otherwise; but it was not that you should know me, that I came, no—I both knew & loved you before, but I wanted to see & speak to you. It might have been my friend as well as myself who called but I had the opportunity.

I send you a book, that a friend in Glasgow, who is greatly taken with your "Leaves of Grass" asked me to send to you or take. I cannot very well leave my ship just now so I post it to you, he would have liked to have sent a more valuable book but he cannot afford it. I thought it very kind of him, I know he is a dear soft hearted fellow, and a splendid critic of English Literature. I will be here for 8 days, and I would like very much to know if you are well.

I am glad to be able to tell you that your number of readers in Scotland is greatly increased. They are beginning to understand your teaching much better

I heard that Swinbourne ranks you third of living men. Victor Hugo I know is his great hero.

Wish best wishes
Yours affectionately,
T. F. Macdonald
(Surgeon S.S. Anchoria)
Walt Whitman


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