poems from dickinson to abigail cooper

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1638

MANUSCRIPTS: Two are extant, both written about February 1885. They are identical in text and form. One (Yale) is in a letter to ED's neighbor, Mrs. J. S. Cooper, beginning: "Dear friend, Nothing inclusive of a human heart could be 'trivial'..." The circumstances prompting the elegy have not been identified. The other, in the New York Public Library, is in a letter to Benjamin Kimball, a Boston lawyer and a kinsman of Judge Otis P. Lord, who had died in March 1884. The verse is here used in loving memory of Lord, who had been for many years an intimate friend of the Dickinson family. The letter begins: "Dear friend, To take the hand of my friend's friend..."

PUBLICATION: The letter to Mrs. Cooper is in Letters (ed. 1894), 396; (ed. 1931), 385.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on February 8, 2000