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Letter to Sarah Tyndale, June 20, 1857

Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Sarah Tyndale, June 20, 1857." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 42-44.
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Whitman writes a letter to his friend Sarah Tyndale apologizing for his delay in writing, and updating her on his life. He complains about the current publishers of Leaves of Grass saying they “retard” his book, and he wants to publish a third edition containing one hundred poems.

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To Sarah Tyndale
Brooklyn, Saturday Afternoon, | June 20, 1857.

Dear Friend,
Do not suppose, because I have delayed in writing to you, that I have forgotten you. No, that will never be. I often recall your visits to me, and your goodness. I think profoundly of my friends—though I cannot write to them by the post office. I write to them more to my satisfaction, through my poems.
Tell Hector I thank him heartily for his invitation and letter—O it is not from any mind to slight him that I have no answered it, or accepted the friendly call. I am so non-polite—so habitually wanting in my responses and ceremonies. That is me—much that is bad, harsh, an undutiful person, a thriftless debtor, is me.
I spent an evening with Mr. Arnold and Mrs. Price lately. Mrs. Price and Helen had been out all day with the sewing machine, at Mr. Beecher’s—either Henry Ward’s, or his father’s. They had done a great day’s work—as much, one of the Beecher ladies said, as a sempstress could have got through with in six months. Mrs. P and Helen had engagements for a fort-night ahead, to go out among families and take the sewing machine. What a revolution this little piece of furniture is producing. Isn’t it quite an encouragement.
I got into quite a talk with Mr. Arnold about Mrs. Hatch. He says the pervading thought of her speeches is that first exists the spirituality of any thing, and that gives existence to things, the earth, the plants, the animals, men, women. But that Andrew Jackson Davis puts matter as the subject of his homilies, and the primary source of all results—I suppose the soul among the rest. Both are quite determined in their theories. Perhaps when they know much more, both of them will be much less determined.
A minister, Rev. Mr. Porter, was introduced to be this morning, a Dutch Reformed minister, and the editor of the “Christian Intelligencer,” N.Y. Would you believe it, he had been reading “Leaves of Grass,” and wanted more? He said he hoped I retained the true Reformed faith which I must have inherited from my mother’s Dutch ancestry. I have no only assured him of my retaining faith in that sect, but that I had perfect faith in all sects, and was not inclined to reject on single one—but believed each to be about as far advanced as it could be, considering what had preceded it—and moreover that every one was the needed representative of its truth—or of something needed as much as truth. I had quite a good hour with Mr. Porter—we grew friends—and I am to go dine with the head man of the head congregation of Dutch Presbyterians in Brooklyn, Eastern District!
I have seen Mrs. Walton once or twice since you left Brooklyn. I dined there. I feel great sympathy with her, on some accounts. Certainly, she is not happy.
Fowler and Wells are bad persons for me. They retard my book very much. It is worse than ever. I wish now to bring out a third edition—I have now a hundred poems ready ( the last edition had thirty-two ) –and shall endeavor to make an arrangement with some publisher here to take the plates from F. & W. and make the additions needed, and so bring out the third edition. F. & W. are very willing to give up the plates—they want the thing off their hands. In the forthcoming Vol. I shall have, as I said, a hundred poems, and no other matter but poems—( no letter to or from Emerson—no notices, or any thing of that sort.) I know well enough, that that must be true Leaves of Grass—I think it (the new Vol.) has an aspect of completeness, and makes its case clearer. The old poems are all retained. The different is in the new character given to the mass, by the additions.
Dear friend, I do not feel like fixing a day on which I will come and make my promised visit. How it is I know not, but I hang back more and more from making visits, even to those I have much happiness in being with.
Mother is well—all are well. Mother often speaks about you. We shall all of us remember you always with more affection than you perhaps suppose. Before I come to Philadelphia, I shall send you or Hector a line.
Wishing Peace & Friendship
Walt Whitman

People who Created this Work

Whitman, Walt author

People Mentioned in this Work

Emerson, Ralph [pages:44]

Whitman notes that his third edition of Leaves of Grass will not contain any notes to or from Emerson.