poems sent from dickinson to higginson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1464

MANUSCRIPT: There are two. The copy reproduced above is incorporated in a letter (BPL Higg 109) written to T. W. Higginson shortly after Christmas 1879, thanking him for the gift of his Short Studies of American Authors. The lines are introduced by the remark:

Remorse for the brevity of a Book is a rare emotion, though fair as Lowell's "Sweet Despair" in the Slipper Hymn -

The poem appears to have been composed for the occasion. It evidently is a redaction of a penciled draft (Bingham 100-6) jotted down on a scrap of paper:

One thing of thee I covet -
The power to forget -
The pathos of the Avarice
Defrays the Dross of it-

One thing of thee I borrow
And promise to return -
The Booty and the Sorrow
Thy sweetness to have known -

PUBLICATION: The letter to Higginson is in Letters (ed. 1894), 329; (ed. 1931), 313; also LL (1924), 319. The penciled draft is in AB (1945), 45-46.

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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 24, 1998