poems from dickinson to gilbert dickinson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1522

MANUSCRIPT: There are two, both written about 1881. The copy reproduced above (H B 177) is incorporated in a note sent to her nephew Gilbert when he was about six years old. ED titled the copy to Gilbert "The Bumble Bee's Religion," and introduces the lines with the statement:

For GIlbert to carry to his Teacher -

At the conclusion of the poem she wrote:

"All Liars shall have their part" -
Jonathan Edwards -
"And let him that is athirst come" -
Jesus -

The copy to Gilbert is a redaction of a first draft (Bingham 99-6) set down on a sheet of lined foolscap:

His little Hearse like Figure
Unto itself a Dirge
To a delusive Lilac
The vanity divulge

Of industry and ethics
And every founded thing
For the divine Perdition
Of idleness and spring -

Although the first draft is set down as a finished copy without suggested changes, the copy for Gilbert is variant in two lines:

5. ethics] Morals
6. founded] righteous

PUBLICATION: Atlantic Monthly, CXV (1915), 38-39; LL (1924), 60. The text derives from the copy to Gilbert, which is said to have been accompanied by a dead bee.

2. That] who
8. And] for

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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 14, 2000