William Henry Furness's translation of Danish writer Adam Oehlenschläger's verses “To Columbus Dying” has not been considered as a source for Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem “Terminus.” However, in an 1844 letter to Emerson, two years before the 1846 journal passage that scholars have cited as the earliest formulation of “Terminus,” Furness shared his translation with Emerson. Using the collection of letters between Furness and Emerson published by Furness's son, Records of Lifelong Friendship, 1807–1882, this article argues for the influential importance of Furness's verses to the composition of “Terminus” based on Furness's and Emerson's intimate discussions of aging, mortality, the loss of sons and other family members, and the restorative powers of poetry and friendship; on the significance to both men of Columbus as a figure, ultimately transfigured by Emerson as a “Columbia of thought & art”; and, on close comparison of the two poems, for Furness's work serving as a foil and impetus for Emerson's.

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