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Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Walt Whitman, 15 January 1887

 loc_vm.00465_large.jpg Dear old man,

I the elder old man have received your Article in the Critic, & send you in return my thanks & New-Year's greeting on the wings of this East-wind, which, I trust, is blowing softlier & warmlier on your good gray head than here, where it is rocking the elms & ilexes of my Isle of Wight garden.1

Yours always Tennyson  loc_vm.00468_large.jpg

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) succeeded William Wordsworth as poet laureate of Great Britain in 1850. The intense male friendship described in In Memoriam, which Tennyson wrote after the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam, possibly influenced Whitman's poetry. Whitman wrote to Tennyson in 1871 or late 1870, probably shortly after the visit of Cyril Flower in December, 1870, but the letter is not extant (see Thomas Donaldson, Walt Whitman the Man [New York: F. P. Harper, 1896], 223). Tennyson's first letter to Whitman is dated July 12, 1871. Although Tennyson extended an invitation for Whitman to visit England, Whitman never acted on the offer.


  • 1. Of this letter Walt Whitman observed: "Tennyson is an artist even when he writes a letter: this letter is protected all round from indecision, forwardness, uncertainty: it is correct—choice, final" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, April 15, 1888.). [back]
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