It is seldom that an American poet condescends to interest himself in so remote a land as India; and I am proportionately glad, therefore, to be able to record this week a great kindness on the part of no less distinguished a singer than Walt Whitman. Once upon a time, indeed, the bard was styled—not by his admirers—the 'Inspired Auctioneer of the Universe', but he has long outlived the reproach which the elaborate detail of his workmanship drew down upon him; and the swing of his half rhythmic, half declamatory, wholly musical lines, has now drawn round him a delighted and admiring school of followers. What the great poet's views of an Indian New Year are may be seen from the following reply to a modest request for 'something seasonable':—
'Dekho! Look here! From the pines of the Alleghannies I, Walt Whitman—colossal, pyramidal, immense—send salutation. I project myself into your personality—! become an integral part of you. I am the Junior Civilian horribly dikked by the Superior Being, and squabbling with a tactless, factless Municipal Committee; and I too pray for a happy new year. I am also the Superior Being, impassive, and waltzing on the toes of all within reach. I too pray, without prejudice, for a happy new year. I am the European loafer, drunk in the bazaar on country spirits, with blue lips and a green rat crawling down my neck. I too, out of the gutter pray for a happy new year. I am the gay, the joyous subaltern, with six ponies in my stables and a shroff in the background. And I too pray for a happy new year. I am the "joy of wild asses" with my husband absent in the Soudan and a ten-strong following at my high silk heels. And I too pray for a happy new year. I am in Sirsa, Jhang or Montgomery, separated from Dicky, Emmy or Baby, living in a tent with my husband who is seedy and overworked. I read the smudgy, round-hand home-letters, and I too pray for a happy new year. Oh! Civilian, Superior Being, Loafer, Subaltern, Grass-Widow and Grass-Mother of many conflicting domesticities, I salute you. In the name of our great ruler Humanity I too wish you all individually and collectively, somehow or any how—a Happy New Year.'