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Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, [10 February] 1888

The climate here is wonderfull [/] weather like June, I was troubled a little by Mosquitos last night, today is rather unpleasantly warm, still they speak of it as "winter" [/] the air is bright and sparkling—the house looks out over the bay and you see the ocean in the distance, a lovely place—I shall stay here two or three weeks, shall write again—let me have a line when the spirit moves you

Your friend R M Bucke

Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

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