We ought to rejoice greatly in him. He occasionally suggests something a little more than human. You can't confound him with the other inhabitants of Brooklyn or New York. How they must shudder when they read him! He is awfully good.
To be sure I sometimes feel a little imposed on. By his heartiness and broad generalities he puts me into a liberal frame of mind prepared to see wonders,—as it were, sets me upon a hill or in the midst of a plain,—stirs me well up, and then—throws in a thousand of brick. Though rude, and sometimes ineffectual, it is a great primitive poem,—an alarum or trumpet-note ringing through the American camp. Wonderfully like the Orientals, too....
Since I have seen him, I find that I am not disturbed by any brag or egoism in his book. He may turn out the least of a braggart of all, having a better right to be confident.
He is a great fellow.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, December 7, 1856, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 296, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
Thoreau refers to Whitman's Leaves of Grass, including "Song of Myself."