Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Walt Whitman, 24 August 1878

Date: August 24, 1878

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00358

Source: The Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin. The transcription presented here is derived from The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 134–135. 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, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

August 24th 1878

My dear Walt Whitman

I am not overfond of letter-writing—rather hate it indeed—I am so overburdened with correspondence that I neglect half of it—nevertheless let me hope that I answered your last of September 14 '76—& that it miscarried.1 I am very glad to hear that you are so improved in health, that you move about the fields & woods freely & have enjoyment of your life.

As to myself I am pretty well for my time of life—sixty nine on the sixth of this month—but somewhat troubled about my eyes—for I am not only the shortest-sighted man in England—but have a great black island floating in each eye, & these blacknesses increase with increasing years. However my oculist informs me that I shall not go blind, & bids me as much as possible spare my eyes, neither reading nor writing too much.

My wife is still an invalid & forced to lie on the sofa all day but still I trust somewhat stronger than when I last wrote to you.

My younger son Lionel (whom you inquire about) was married to the daughter of F. Locker2 (the author of London Lyrics) in Feby—the wedding was celebrated in our old grand historical Abbey of Westminster—there was a great attendance of literati &c of all which I read an account in one of your New-York papers—every third word a lie! Trübner wrote to me this morning, stating that you wished to see a parody of yourself, which appeared among other parodies of modern authors in a paper called 'The London'—I have it not or I would sent it you. Goodbye, good friend. I think I have answered all your questions.

Yours ever
A Tennyson


1. Whitman's letter and Tennyson's reply are unknown. [back]

2. 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]


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.