For the Companion.


1     September's Baccalaureate
2     A combination is
3     Of crickets, crows and retrospects,
4     And a dissembling breeze

5     That hints without assuming,
6     An innuendo sere,
7     That makes the heart put up its fun,
8     And turn philosopher.

          EMILY DICKINSON.[in small caps]

Diplomatic Transcription of Manuscript

A combination
Of Crickets _
Crows - and
And a dissembling

That hints
Without assuming -
An Innuendo
That makes the
Heart put up its'
Fun -
[page break]
And turn


Collation of Witnesses

Below are the results of a complete collation of "September's Baccalaureate" with three other print versions: Todd and Bingham (1945) and Johnson (1955) and (1960). I have noted all variants, even where they might be construed as being printer's conventions. Telling is that I was unable to represent the manuscript variants in the display below and instead had to place a diplomatic rendering of the manuscript directly next to the poem. Dickinson's manuscript, with its vastly different line breaks, defies the system used below, which proves so useful for print. How do you show variants by line when an eighteen-line poem in manuscript has always been edited down to eight lines?

The diplomatic rendering is based on the manuscript as it is reproduced in The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson (Ed. R.H. Franklin, vol. 2 of 2, Cambridge, MA, Belknap-Harvard UP, 1981, p. 1379). Franklin places the poem in the last set-15.

[All three print versions that I collated delete the heading and title that appeared in The Youth's Companion. All also dispense with the author's name at the bottom of the poem.]

Line 1. September's Baccalaureate ] SEPTEMBER'S [in small caps] baccalaureate 1945

Line 3. Of crickets, crows and retrospects, ] Of crickets, crows, and retrospects, 1945
Of Crickets - Crows - and Retrospects 1955, 1960

Line 4. breeze ] Breeze 1955, 1960

Line 5. That hints ] That hints, 1945
assuming, ] assuming­ 1955, 1960

Line 6. innuendo sere, ] innuendo sere 1945
Innuendo sear 1955, 1960

Line 7. heart ] Heart 1955, 1960
its ] it's 1955
fun, ] fun 1945
Fun 1955, 1960

Line 8. philosopher ] Philosopher 1955, 1960

[Todd and Bingham link a footnote to the poem's final line that identifies its original publication in The Youth's Companion.]

Bolts of Melody. Ed. Mabel Loomis Todd and Millicent Todd Bingham. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, 1945.

Poems; including variant readings critically compared with all known manuscripts. Ed. Thomas H. Johnson. 3 vols. Cambridge: Belknap-Harvard UP, 1955.

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ed. Thomas H. Johnson. Boston, Toronto, London: Little, Brown and Co., 1960.