poems sent from dickinson to bowles

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1076

MANUSCRIPTS: There are three. The copy reproduced above (Bingham 98-4A-25) was written about 1866 on the first and third pages of a sheet of notepaper. Identical in text is a second fair copy (Bingham 98-4A-24), written about the same time and signed "Emily." It has been folded as if enclosed in an envelope:

Just Once - Oh Least Request -
Could Adamant refuse
So small a Grace
So scanty put -
Such agonizing terms?

Would not a God of Flint
Be conscious of a sigh
As down His Heaven dropt remote -
"Just Once" - Sweet Deity?

Both fair copies are redactions of a semifinal draft in packet 19 (H 108d), written late in 1862:

Just Once! Oh Least Request!
Could Adamant - refuse?
So small - a Grace - so scanty - put -
Such agonized Urged?

Would not a God of Flint -
Be conscious of a Sigh -
As down His Heaven - echoed faint -
"Just Once!" Sweet Deity!

4] Such agonizing Terms -
7. echoed faint] Dropt - remote

PUBLICATION: The copy to Bowles is in Letters (ed. 1894), 217; (ed. 1931), 205; also LL (1924), 256. The text if arranged without stanza division and is identical with that of the fair copies. The packet copy is reproduced in FP (1929), 202. The text is arranged as a ten-line stanza and both suggested changes are adopted.

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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 October 16, 1998