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John G. Whittier to Walt Whitman, 13 January 1888

 loc_vm.02456_large.jpg Dear Friend,

But for illness I should have thanked thee before this for thy vigorous lines of greeting in Munyon's Illustrated World,1 combining as they do the cradle and  loc_vm.02457_large.jpg evening song of my life. My brother writers have been very generous to me, and I heartily thank them for it.

With all good wishes I am thy friend John G. Whittier  loc_vm.02458_large.jpg  loc_vm.02459_large.jpg

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892) earned fame as a staunch advocate for the abolition of slavery. As a poet, he employed traditional forms and meters, and, not surprisingly, he was not an admirer of Whitman's unconventional prosody. For Whitman's view of Whittier, see the poet's numerous comments throughout the nine volumes of Horace Traubel's With Walt Whitman in Camden (various publishers: 1906–1996) and Whitman's "My Tribute to Four Poets," in Specimen Days (Philadelphia: Rees Welsh & Co., 1882–'83), 180–181.


  • 1. Whitman's greeting to Whittier ("As the Greek's Signal Flame") appeared in the New York Herald on December 15, 1887 and in Munyon's Illustrated World in January 1888. [back]
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