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Salem June 17th
My Dear Friend,
I am glad to see those noble poems of yours fairly out at last upon their destined work. For many depend on this, that whether their audience for the present be large or small, they have a rare path marked out for
them in unfolding the intellectual & spiritual as well as the aesthetic nature of really earnest persons. What I like best in them is that while they ascend into the deeper & sadder experiences of life, and deal with the highest problems & mysteries, they are so full of health and cheer. They send the repose of absolute truth & clear spiritual
intuition through the aspirations and conflicts, and give us the poetry of the highest philosophy of life. This, you will say, smacketh rather of the preacher's net of judgement than the poet's. But ne sutor ultra crepidam - others will emphasize other merits, as I do these.
The Hymn to the Sea seems to me very much improved. There' are some sharp transitions
softened, and, altogether a greater [completeness] of form perhaps is given to the poem. I had read the 'Beatrice' before in Ms.[deletion: s], but had not found so much tenderness & dramatic power in it, as now. But I think I cl'd spare anything from the book better than some of the sonnets, espec. that of 'Continence', and Nos XIII & XV, on Night, and No. IV on Beauty.
Your friends here are greatly enjoying the gift you hv. made them, for
[written up the left side of page:]
which you will hv. the deepest thanks of many who will not know how to tell you of the enjoyment & the good they find in it.
With best wishes, sincerely yr. friend,
Johnson, Samuel and Wellesley College Archives, "Letter from Samuel Johnson, Salem, Massachusetts, to Anne Whitney, 1859 June 17" (1859). Papers of Anne Whitney (MSS.4): Correspondence. 850.