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in the Department of the Interior; he was presently removed on the charge (it is said) of having written an indecent book.' A place was immediately found for him in the Attorney General's office, and this place he held until he was stricken by partial paralysis early in 1873.
From 1873 until his death Whitman lived in Camden, New Jersey, at first making his home with his soldier brother, George, later setting up an establishment of his own at 328 Mickle Street. He never married, having an overmastering passion for entire freedom, unconstraint; I had ' an instinct against forming ties that would bind
The following list of Whitman's writings conveys no idea of the interest attaching to them as bibliographical curiosities, but will perhaps answer the needs of the student.
Leaves of Grass, 1855 (second edition, 1856; third, 1860–61; fourth, 1867; fifth, 1871); Walt Whitman's Drum-Taps and its Sequel, 1865-66; Democratic Vistas, 1871; After All not to Create Only, 1871; Passage to India, 1871; As a Strong
It is therefore deemed needful only to say in relation 'to his [Whitman's] removal, that his Chief Hon. Wm. P. • Dole, Commissioner of Indian affairs, who was officially answer• able to me for the work in his Bureau, recommended it, on the 'ground that his services were not needed. And no other reason
was ever assigned by my authority.' Extract from a letter from James Harlan to Dewitt Miller, dated Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, July 18, 1894.
Bird on Pinions Free, 1872; Memoranda during the War, 1875-76; Two Rivulets (prose and verse), 1876; Specimen Days and Collect, 1882–83; November Boughs (prose and verse), 1888; Good-Bye My Fancy, 1891; Calamus: A Series of Letters a young friend (Peter Doyle), 1897; The Wound Dresser, 1898.
The storm of opposition which greeted Whitman's earlier work gradually subsided, and he became a notable figure among contemporary men of letters. He was invited to read original poems on public occasions, such as the opening of the American Institute (1871), the Commencement at Dartmouth College (1872), and the Commencement at Tufts College (1874). In later years he enjoyed literary canonization in a small way. Many pilgrims visited the bard in his unpoetical house in Camden. Worshippers came from England to pay him homage and incidentally to rail at Americans for neglecting one of their few geniuses, stolidly ignoring the fact that they themselves had neglected not a few of their many geniuses. And before Walt Whitman died (March 26, 1892) he had tasted some of the delights of fame.
THE GROWTH OF A REPUTATION
Being prejudiced in favor of metre and rhyme, probably from long experience of verse written in the conservative way, an old-fashioned world did not welcome Leaves of Grass with enthusi
A few discerning spirits saw in Whitman the promise of mighty things. Emerson greeted him at the beginning of a great career;' but when the poet had these words from a private letter stamped in gilt capitals on the cover of his next volume, Emerson (it is thought) was a little dismayed.
Not only did the form of the poems offend, but the content as well. There were lines calculated to disconcert even such people as were not, in their own opinion, prudish. The lines were comparatively few in number, but they were there in unabashed nakedness, and Leaves of Grass, it may be assumed, often went on a top shelf instead of on the sitting-room table along with innocuous poets like Tennyson and Longfellow.
Neglect and abuse raised up for Whitman in time a small battalion of champions, fierce, determined, uncompromising, militant. Among them were men whose attitude towards literature was catholic and liberal. For the most part they were
Whitmanites, hot as lovers, quarrelsome as bullies, biting their thumbs at every passer-by.
Literary championship has one good effect : it keeps the public, gorged with novels of the day, from quite going to sleep. There is always a chance that some open-minded reader will be stirred by the clash of critical arms to look into the affair that is causing so great a pother. Better to be advertised by the crowd of swashbucklers who clattered about wearing Whitman's colors than not to be advertised at all. The public concluded that a man who could inspire loyalty like this must be worth while. Whitman's audience and influence grew. The bodyguard pretty much lost the power to see virtue in any poet save its own, but it had succeeded in arresting public attention.
In 1876 a number of English admirers subscribed freely to the new edition of Whitman's writings and garnished their guineas with comfortable words. The poet was sick, poor, discouraged, and by his own grateful testimony this show of interest put new heart into him - saved my life,' he said. It might well have had that effect, since no less names than those of Tennyson, Ruskin, Rossetti, and Lord Houghton were to be found in the list of subscribers. Even Robert Buchanan, who assailed with virulence the author of Jenny,' had no scruple in bidding God speed to the author of the Song of Myself ' and 'Children of Adam.' A momentary set-back occurred in 1882, when Whitman's Boston publisher was threatened with prosecution. The official mind’ declared that it would be content if two poems were suppressed, the poems in question resembling in some particulars the stories an English editor omitted from the Thousand-and-One Nights, on the ground that they were interesting only to Arabs and old gen
tlemen.' Whitman refused to omit so much as a word, and the book was transferred to a Philadelphia publishing house.
After 1882 Whitman found himself able to publish freely and without the fear of the district attorney before his eyes. Since his death he has been accorded a niche in the American literary pantheon, if we may believe the critics, who now treat his work with the confidence which marks their attitude towards Lowell or Longfellow.
Unless indeed, as some maintain, Whitman got the suggestion of a rhapsodical form from the once famous Poems of Ossian, he may be said to have invented his own verse.' These unrhymed and unmetred chants give a pleasure the degree of which is largely determined by the reader's willingness to allow Whitman to speak in his own