Skip to main content

Charles L. Heyde to Walt Whitman, 18 May 1860

Dear Walt.

Received your book, also a letter for Han.—Feel proud myself—the copy I1 now have is just the thing to handle frequently—I like the portrait, it looks very much as you do at the present time. It has a little air of a foreign savan—however—but it is a good likeness.

I think that some of the poems open splendid—grandly—there is a fault or eccentricity however, in some, that is, they diverge too abruptly from a lofty theme or elevating imagery into common place—ordinary—and repulsive object, or subject matter—But they are poems of the thoroughfare of life passions and emotions of the universe and humanity—on all sides taken—as they approach and appear without selection—sympathies utterd and communion held with all in turn and none rejected—Poems of glorious, liberal, soul filld emotion. They will be read—they must have a place—But you'l write a perfect poem one of these days, filld with nature sublime—Your thoughts are true thoughts—Common sense is the best philosophy—Cant has too long ruled the world and judged the case of erring humanity—Your poems are sustaining—I hope that there will be a jolly good fight over them—The public are lazy—and need some disturbance to arouse them—

Many thanks to you—We expected to have seen you here—Han is disappointed, but you have been detaind in Boston a long time—Our scenery here has conceald all its lofty and varied beauty and sublimity—No rain has fal'n for two months—The sun rises and sets as if it threatend to pierce the earth with its ball of fire—The atmesphere is dense and impenetrable—the mountains totaly obscured. We shall see you some time—I want Han to see her Mother—for a change. I shall come to New York for her myself—I want to visit it—I think that I shall have to return to that place or Boston or get nearer some city—Give us more poems Walt—I hope there'l be a genearl big row—in the papers—Stir em up well—I look for it.


I want a handsome bound volume for a keepsake—mind that now


  • 1. Charles Heyde, a landscape painter, was the husband of Hannah Louisa Whitman, Whitman's younger sister. They married in 1852 and lived in Vermont. [back]
Back to top