poems sent from dickinson to higginson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1067

MANUSCRIPTS: The copy reproduced above (BPL Higg 59) is incorporated in a letter written to T. W. Higginson; it is enclosed in an envelope postmarked 17 March 1866. A second fair copy (H 250), written about the same time, is addressed "Sue" and signed "Emily." It perhaps accompanied a gift of apples. The copies are identical in text:

Except the smaller size
No Lives are Round-
These - hurry to a Sphere -
And show- and end -

The Larger - slower grow -
And later hang-
The Summers of Hesperides
Are long-

The semifinal draft from which the fair copies derive is in packet 84 (Bingham 27d) and was written some years earlier, about 1862:

Except the smaller size-
No Lives - are Round -
These - hurry to a Sphere -
And show-and end-

The Larger - slower grow -
And later-hang-
The Summers of Hesperides
Are long-

Hugest of Core
Present the awkward Rind-
Yield Groups of Ones-
No Cluster-ye shall find-

But far after Frost-
And Indian Summer Noon-
Ships - offer these -
As West-lndianÜ

7. of] in
9. Hugest] The Huge
12. ye] you
14. Noon] Sun-

The text of the first eight lines is identical with that of the two fair copies. It should be noted that all suggested changes are confined to the two final stanzas, the ones that ED discarded in the two fair copies.

PUBLICATION: The letter to Higginson was first published in Atlantic Monthly, LXVIII (October 1891), 451, in an article whicn Higginson wrote dealing with the letters and poems he had received from ED. It was collected in Letters (ed. 1894), 312; (ed. I931), 282; also LL (1924), 268-269. The copy to Sue furnished the text in SH (1914), 5, where the lines are arranged as a single quatrian. The packet copy is reproduced in New England Quarterly, XX (1947), 16; the suggested changes are rejected.

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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 21, 2000