letters from dickinson to john l. graves

late April 1856

It is Sunday - now- John - and all have gone to church - the wagons have done passing, and I have come out in the new grass to listen to the anthems.

Three or four Hens have followed me, and we sit side by side - and while they crow and whisper, I'll tell you what I see today, and what I would that you saw -

You remember the crumbling wall that divides us from Mr Sweetser - and the crumbling elms and the evergreens - and other crumbling things - that spring, and fade, and cast their bloom within a simple twelvemonth - well - they are here, and skies on me fairer far than Italy, in blue eye look down - up - see! - away - a league from here, on the way to Heaven! And here are Robins - just got home - and giddy Crows - and Jays - and will you trust me - as I live, here's a bumblebees - not such as summer brings - John - earnest, manly bees, but a kind of a Cockney, dressed in jaunty clothes. Much is that gay - have I to show, if you were with me, John, upon this April grass - then there are sadder features - here and there, wings half gone to dust, that fluttered so, last year - a mouldering plume, an empty house, in which a bird resided. Where last year's flies, their errand ran, and last year's crickets fell! We, too, are flying - fading, John - and the song "here lies," soon upon lips that love us now - will have hummed and ended.

To live, and die, and mount again in triumphant body, and next time, try the upper air - is no schoolboy's theme!

It is a holly thought to think that we can be Eternal - when air and earth are full of lives that are gone - and done - and a conceited thing indeed, this promised Resurrection! Congratulate me - John - Lad - and "here's a health to you" - that we have each a pair of lives, and need not chary be, of the one "that now is" -

Thank you for your letter, John - Glad I was, to get it - and gladder had I got them both, and glad indeed to see - if in your heart another lies, bound one day to me - Mid your momentous cares, plasant to know that "Lang Syne" has it's own place - that nook and cranny still retain their accustomed guest. And when busier cares, and dustier days, and cobwebs, less unfrequent - shut what was away, still, as a ballad hummed, and lost, remember early friend, and drop a tear, if a troubador that strain may chance to sing.

I am glad you have a school to teach - and happy that it is pleasant - amused at the Clerical Civility - of your new friends - and shall feel - I know, delight and pride, always, when you succeed. I play the old, odd tunes yet, which used to flit about your head after honest hours - and wake dear Sue, and madden me, with their grief and fun - How far from us, that spring seems - and those triumphant days - Our April got to Heaven first - Grant we may meet her there - at the "right hand of the Father." Remember, tho' you rove - John - and those who do not ramble will remember you. Susie's, and Mattie's compliments, and Vinnie's just here, and write again if you will -

thomas johnson's note on letter 184 | index to dickinson/graves letters

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