poems from dickinson to perez d. cowan

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1492

MANUSCRIPT: October 1880 (Harvard). This poem is incorporated in a letter written to Perez Dickinson Cowan in October 1880 when Cowan was pastor of the Congregational Church in Wellesley, Massachusetts. His small daughter Margaret had died 8 November 1879, and Cowan later sent ED a memorial account of her brief life. ED's reply acknowledges receipt of the brochure; the poem, written partly as prose and partly as verse, is an elegy for little Margie. The quoted lines derive from 1 Corinthians 15.35:

But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

PUBLICATION: In Letters (1894), 335, it is printed entirely as prose (as in the reprint in LL [1924], 326). In Letters (1931), 324, the first stanza is prose and the second verse. A footnote in AB (1945), 193, reproduces both stanzas as verse.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lvetter@uncc.edu>
Last updated on March 3, 2008