Contemporary Reviews

About this Item

Title: [Review of Drum-Taps]

Creator: unknown [unsigned in original]

Date: November 22, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: anc.00055

Source: The New York Times 22 November 1865: 4. The original electronic text for this file was prepared for Walt Whitman, The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Kenneth M. Price (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), and the transcription was completed by consulting a representation of the original (e.g., photocopy, microfilm copy). Following publication of that volume, Price received an updated transcription file from Cambridge University Press, and the Whitman Archive has used the final file from the publisher as the basis for the electronic text presented here. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the reviews, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Natalie O'Neal, Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Todd Stabley

WALT. WHITMAN'S DRUM TAPS 12mo. New-York. 1865.

Mr. WHITMAN has strong aspirations toward poetry, but he is wanting entirely in the qualities that PRAED 1 possessed in such large measure. He has no ear, no sense of the melody of verse. His poems only differ from prose in the lines being cut into length, instead of continuously pointed. As prose, they must be gauged by the sense they contain, the mechanism of verse being either despised by, or out of the reach of the writer. Considered as prose, then, we find in them a poverty of thought, paraded forth with a hubbub of stray words, and accompanied with a vehement self-assertion in the author, that betrays an absence of true and calm confidence in himself and his impulses. Mr. WHITMAN has fortunately better claims on the gratitude of his countrymen than any he will ever derive from his vocation as a poet. What a man does, is of far greater consequence than what he says or prints, and his devotion to the most painful of duties in the hospitals at Washington during the war, will confer honor on his memory when Leaves of Grass are withered and Drum Taps have ceased to vibrate.


1. Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802-1839) was a British poet and politician. [back]


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