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Walt Whitman to Bayard Taylor, 18 November 1866

My dear Mr. Taylor,1

I have received your letter of the 12th. The friendly pages thereof have given me pleasure, & I wish to proffer you my friendship in response. Should I not see you at the lecture, I hope you will do me the honor to call upon me at the Attorney General's office here, in the Treasury Building, where I am employed.

Your book also came safely. I accept it, as a kind & valuable gift—& heartily thank you.

Permit me to send you, in return, a copy of the new edition of Leaves of Grass. I send it herewith by same mail. Truly hoping to see you—for the present, Farewell.

Walt Whitman.


  • 1. Bayard Taylor (1825–1878), translator of Goethe's Faust, journalist, and traveler, sent his "Picture of St. John" to Whitman on November 12, 1866. He commended Whitman's "remarkable powers of expression" and "deep and tender reverence for Man." His letter of December 2, 1866 was even more unreserved in its praise. Later Taylor's enthusiasm for Whitman was to change dramatically. In The Echo Club (2d ed., 1876), 154–158, 168–169, Taylor burlesqued Whitman's poetry. William Sloane Kennedy lists him among Whitman's "Bitter and Relentless Foes and Villifiers"; see The Fight of a Book for the World (West Yarmouth, Massachusetts: The Stonecroft Press, 1926), 288. See also "Letter from Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 1 January 1867" in Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence (New York: New York University Press, 1961–69), 1:305. [back]
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