poems sent from dickinson to higginson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1181

MANUSCRIPTS: There are three versions of this poem, written over a nine-year period. The copy reproduced above (BPL Higg 23), the latest version, was one of four poems enclosed in a letter to T. W. Higginson (BPL Higg 74) written in October or November, 1871. The earliest version, in packet 84 (Bingham 2l b), was written about 1862:

When I hoped - I feared - Since - I hoped - I dared Everywhere - alone - As a Church - remain. Ghost - may not alarm - Serpent - may not charm - He is King of Harm - Who hath suffered Him -

A third version (H 375), written in pencil about 1868, is addressed "Sue - " and signed "Emily." Lines 5-7 are intermediary in their variant form between the 1862 and the 1871 versions:
When I hoped, I feared -
Since I hoped I dared
Everywhere alone
As a Church remain -
Spectre cannot harm
Serpent cannot charm
He is Prince of Harm
Who hath suffered him.

PUBLICATION: Poems (1891), 65. The text derives from the copy to Higginson.

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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