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Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Walt Whitman, 14 May 1891

 loc_vm.00473_large.jpg My dear W. W.

All health & happiness to you on your birthday2 & henceforward

Yours ever Tennyson  loc_vm.00474_large.jpg  loc_vm.00475_large.jpg  loc_vm.00476_large.jpg  loc_vm.00471_large.jpg May 26 1891 427 Chestnut | [illegible] 5/25  loc_vm.00472_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. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman Esqr | Care of / Horace Traubel Esq | The Contemporary Club | Philadelphia | U S America. It is postmarked: SCHOOL GREEN | B | MY 14 | 91 | ISLE OF WIGHT; [illegible]A[illegible]; RECEIVED | May | 24 | 12 [illegible] | 12 | [illegible]; 2. [back]
  • 2. Whitman's seventy-second (and last) birthday, May 31, 1891, was celebrated with friends at his home on Mickle Street. He described the celebration in a letter to Dr. John Johnston of Bolton, England, dated June 1, 1891: "We had our birth anniversary spree last evn'g​ —ab't​ 40 people, choice friends mostly—12 or so women—Tennyson sent a short and sweet letter over his own sign manual . . . lots of bits of speeches, with gems in them—we had a capital good supper." [back]
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