poems sent from dickinson to bowles

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 835

MANUSCRIPTS: There are two, both written about 1864. That reproduced above is in packet 91 (Bingham 70a). The copy below (Bingham), in pencil and signed "Emily -," was sent to Samuel Bowles.

Nature, and God, I neither knew
Yet both, so well knew me
They startled, like Executors
Of an identity -
Yet Neither - told - that I could learn -
My Secret, as secure
As Herschel's private interest,
Or Mercury's Affair -

It is variant in line 4. The reference to Herschel might be to either of the celebrated astronomers of that name: Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), who discovered the planet Uranus, or his son Sir John (1792-1871).

PUBLICATION: The text of the copy to Bowles is in Letters (ed. 1894), 213; (ed. 1931), 201; also LL (1924), 246.

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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