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William Morton Fullerton to Walt Whitman, 1 August 1887

 loc.02051.001_large.jpg My dear Sir:

I have lately been spending happy days with my dear friend, Rev Samuel Longfellow,1 beneath the shadow of the Old Man of the Mountain in the Franconia Notch. Returning home I found on my table the papers and pamphlet, and photogravure photograph of yourself, which you sent to me. The  loc.02051.002_large.jpg  loc.02051.003_large.jpg portrait hangs now on my wall in my little book-lined den at Waltham, where I may see it whenever I raise my eyes from my work.

I wish to thank you in the warmest terms for your very considerable and much appreciated gift. Never before, believe me, have I experienced anything that pleased  loc.02051.004_large.jpg  loc.02051.005_large.jpg me more. And the picture especially and O'Connor's pamphlet I shall always cherish as most precious expressions of regard from one whom I honor before all other writers of our land. To have written anything that could please you is a satisfaction which I highly prize.

I had a letter a week ago from a Spaniard in Avila, Spain. This, which he said, you will be glad to hear: "Kant, Lucretius, Swinburne2  loc.02051.006_large.jpg  loc.02051.007_large.jpg, Musset,3 Goethe, & Walt Whitman make up my library."

When is the new volume of poems to come to us?

With profound gratitude for your especial notice of my faulty work, and a deep sense of obligation for the intellectual stimulus that your poems have given to me, I am

Most faithfully yours, Wm Morton Fullerton  loc.02051.008_large.jpg

William Morton Fullerton (1865–1952) was an American journalist and is perhaps remembered mostly for his affair with author Edith Wharton (a fellow admirer of Whitman) in the early 20th century.


  • 1. Samuel Longfellow (1819–1892) was Unitarian pastor and transcendentalist from New England. He was well-known for composing hymns. [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. Alfred de Musset (1810–1857) was a French poet and novelist. [back]
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