poems sent from dickinson to higginson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1392

MANUSCRIPT: There are two, both written early in 1877. The two-stanza version reproduced above (Bingham l02-22) is written in pencil on a discarded sheet of stationery. The last word "own" is repeated. The variant below was incorporated in a letter (BPL Higg 90) written in March or April to Mrs. T. W. Higginson:

Of whose electric Adjunct Not anything is known - Though it's unique Momentum Inebriate our own.

ED had been commenting on the exciting prospect of the return of spring, and the poem follows. Mary Channing Higginson had been ill for some time and died early in September following. ED knew the hopelessness of her condition and the delicacy of her omission of the first stanza, the linking of "hope" to the return of spring, is touching.

PUBLICATION: The lines to Mrs. Higginson are in Letters (ed. 1931 only), 307. The letter is there mistakenly thought to have been written to Colonel Higginson. The two-stanza version is in New England Quarterly, XX (1947), 36-37.

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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 September 22, 1998