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Richard W. Colles to Walt Whitman, 26 October 1889

 loc.01304.002_large.jpg Dear Sir,

Will you afford me the pleasure of possessing your "November Boughs"2? I will remit you when I learn the price, of which I am ignorant at present. Professor Dowden3 told me of your having published a special ed of "L of G" & shewed it me. You have already kindly signed "R.W. Colles from Walt Whitman" in your books for me may I ask a like favor for "N.B." Owing to severe illness, I have not yet been able to deliver the public lecture I intended to do. My heart has been very bad for [illegible] months. I am better and hope to ful[illegible] promise as well as realize a [illegible] long entertained. If you will be good enough to forward me a photograph I shall deem it a very great favor & will include same in remittance.

With gratitude and sincere wishes R. W. Colles

I have subscribed for Sloane Kennedy's Book.


Richard William "Ramsay" Colles (1862–1919) was born in Bodh Gaya, India, to Anglo-Irish parents. Colles attended Wesley College in Dublin, and by 1896 was working as a journalist for the Dublin Daily Express before moving to a cultural review paper, the Irish Figaro, which he owned and edited with his wife, Annie (Sweeney). He also founded a fraternity periodical, the Irish Masonry Monthly, and achieved notoriety in 1911 with his memoir, In Castle and Court House: Being Reminiscences of 30 Years in Ireland (London: Werner Laurie). Known as a theater critic, editor, and poet, Colles contributed to many anthologies and periodicals, and his poems "Love's Question" and "Her Coming" appeared in Gems of Poesy by Present Day Authors, edited by Charles F. Forshaw, a member of the Council of the Royal Society of Literature (London: Kenning, 1901). Colles also edited volumes of poetry by Thomas Lovell Beddoes (Routledge, 1907), George Darley (Routledge, 1908) and Hartley Coleridge (London: Muses Library, 1908). His final work was the four-volume The History of Ulster: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day, published the year of his death (London: Gresham, 1919).


  • 1. This postal card is addressed: Walt Whitman | [illegible]8 Mickle Street | Camden | New Jersey | U.S. America. It is postmarked: Dublin | 5 | Oc 27 | 89; Camden, N.J. | Nov [illegible] | 8AM | 89. [back]
  • 2. Whitman's November Boughs was published in October 1888 by Philadelphia publisher David McKay. For more information on the book, see James E. Barcus Jr., "November Boughs [1888]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 3. Edward Dowden (1843–1913), professor of English literature at the University of Dublin, was one of the first to critically appreciate Whitman's poetry, particularly abroad, and was primarily responsible for Whitman's popularity among students in Dublin. In July 1871, Dowden penned a glowing review of Whitman's work in the Westminster Review entitled "The Poetry of Democracy: Walt Whitman," in which Dowden described Whitman as "a man unlike any of his predecessors. . . . Bard of America, and Bard of democracy." In 1888, Whitman observed to Traubel: "Dowden is a book-man: but he is also and more particularly a man-man: I guess that is where we connect" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, June 10, 1888, 299). For more, see Philip W. Leon, "Dowden, Edward (1843–1913)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
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