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Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Walt Whitman, 24 August 1878

My dear Walt Whitman

I am not overfond of letter-writing—rather hate it indeed—I am so overburdened with correspondence that I neglect half of it—nevertheless let me hope that I answered your last of September 14 '76—& that it miscarried.1 I am very glad to hear that you are so improved in health, that you move about the fields & woods freely & have enjoyment of your life.

As to myself I am pretty well for my time of life—sixty nine on the sixth of this month—but somewhat troubled about my eyes—for I am not only the shortest-sighted man in England—but have a great black island floating in each eye, & these blacknesses increase with increasing years. However my oculist informs me that I shall not go blind, & bids me as much as possible spare my eyes, neither reading nor writing too much.

My wife is still an invalid & forced to lie on the sofa all day but still I trust somewhat stronger than when I last wrote to you.

My younger son Lionel (whom you inquire about) was married to the daughter of F. Locker2 (the author of London Lyrics) in Feby​ —the wedding was celebrated in our old grand historical Abbey of Westminster—there was a great attendance of literati &c of all which I read an account in one of your New-York papers—every third word a lie! Trübner wrote to me this morning, stating that you wished to see a parody of yourself, which appeared among other parodies of modern authors in a paper called 'The London'—I have it not or I would sent it you. Goodbye, good friend. I think I have answered all your questions.

Yours ever A Tennyson


  • 1. Whitman's letter and Tennyson's reply are unknown. [back]
  • 2. Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821–1895), an English poet, corresponded with Whitman in 1880 (see the letter from Whitman to Locker-Lampson of March 21, 1880). [back]
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