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Philip Hale to Walt Whitman, 14 September 1871

 loc.01725.001_large.jpg see notes Jan 14th 1889 Dear Sir.

I have just. got your complete works—Ed 18711 and would like to ask you why you did not reprint the preface to the first edition? I have only read extracts from that preface and should like to have seen the whole—reprinted—I suppose I can not get the old Ed now at the stores.

I saw the other day that Mr Swinburne2 said he enjoyed your "Song from the Sea"  loc.01725.002_large.jpg more than any of your works. Did he mean Sea Shore Memories No 13—? The poem of yours that I read over with the most satisfaction is your Burial Hymn of Lincoln4—But as my opinion is not worth anything, being a boy—I should not have entruded​ it upon you—If you are pressed by time, even then I should like to hear from you—just a word—

Yours most respectfully, Philip Hale  loc.01725.003_large.jpg

P. S. Do you know where I could get a 1st Ed with preface—?

 loc.01725.004_large.jpg Philip Hale

Philip Hale (1854–1934), a music critic and program annotator for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, wrote to Walt Whitman for the first time on September 14, 1871. Hale wrote again on October 7, 1875, to praise the "Calamus" poems and to enclose a copy of "Walt Whitman," which he published in the Yale Literary Magazine in November 1874, 96–104. Walt Whitman sent Two Rivulets to Hale on September 3, 1876 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.).


  • 1. The fifth edition of Leaves of Grass was published by J. S. Redfield in 1871. For more information on this edition, see Luke Mancuso, "Leaves of Grass, 1871–72 Edition," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 2. The British poet, critic, playwright, and novelist Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909) was one of Whitman's earliest English admirers. At the conclusion of William Blake: A Critical Essay (1868), Swinburne pointed out similarities between Whitman and Blake, and praised "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," which he termed "the most sweet and sonorous nocturn ever chanted in the church of the world" (300–303). His famous lyric "To Walt Whitman in America" is included in Songs before Sunrise (1871). For the story of Swinburne's veneration of Whitman and his later recantation, see two essays by Terry L. Meyers, "Swinburne and Whitman: Further Evidence," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 14 (Summer 1996), 1–11 and "A Note on Swinburne and Whitman," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 21 (Summer 2003), 38–39. [back]
  • 3. Whitman's "Sea-Shore Memories" cluster of poems was published as part of the Passage to India annex to Leaves of Grass. Passage to India was included in the second issue of the fifth edition of Leaves of Grass (1871–72). The first poem in the cluster was "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking." For more information on this edition, see Lee Mancuso, "Leaves of Grass, 1871–72 Edition," ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 4. Whitman's original title for the cluster of poems memorializing Lincoln's death was "President Lincoln's Burial Hymn." For more information see Bernard Hirschhorn, "''Memories of President Lincoln' (1881–1882)," ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
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