poems sent from dickinson to bowles

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 523

MANUSCRIPTS: The copy reproduced above is in packet 5 (H 22b), written about 1862. A variant of stanza 3, written about 1865, is in packet 88 (Bingham 51f), presented as a poem complete in itself:

Just to be Rich
To waste my Guinea
On so broad a Heart!
Just to be Poor,
For Barefoot pleasure
You, Sir, shut me out!

A second copy of the same variant stanza (Bingham), signed "Emily.," was sent to an unidentified recipient; it seems likewise to have been written about 1865, and may have been sent to Bowles.

Just to be Rich -
To waste my Guinea
On so Broad a Heart -
Just to be Poor -
For Barefoot Pleasure
You - Sir - Shut me out -

PUBLICATION: The three stanzas are in BM (1945), 160-161. All suggested changes are rejected. The variant stanza, arranged as a quatrain, is published in a footnote on page 161, following the comment: "A slightly different version of the final stanza was sent to Samuel Bowles."

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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