Robert Barry Coffin

At his death, Robert Barry Coffin ("Barry Gray") was remembered as a "venerable author and Bohemian". He was born in 1826 and was a descendant of the Coffin family and "old Admiral Coffin" of Cape Cod. He was a critic for the Home Journal, and he may have associated with famous authors, including Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry W. Longfellow. "Gray" was also a frequenter of Pfaff's cellar who often sat "at the dripping round-table where Walt Whitman read his 'Yawps'" alongside fellow Pfaffians, Fitz-Greene Halleck and Artemus Ward.

Ships at Sea

I have ships that went to sea More than fifty years ago; None have yet come home to me, But are sailing to and fro. I have seen them in my sleep, Plunging through the shoreless deep, With tattered sails and battered hulls, While around them screamed the gulls, Flying low, flying low. I...

By Robert Barry Coffin
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19 October