poems sent from dickinson to higginson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1490

MANUSCRIPT: When T. W. Higginson's infant daughter Louisa died aged seven weeks in March 1880, ED saw a notice in the paper and wrote him a brief note (BPL Higg 113) which these lines conclude. The worksheet draft (Bingham 1OO-11), written at the same time on a torn and discarded sheet of stationery, also survives:

The Face in Evanescence lain
Is more distinct than our's -
And our's surrendered for it's sake
As Capsules are for Flower's -

Or is it the confiding sheen
Dissenting to be won -
Consenting to enamor us
Of Detriment divine?

6. Dissenting] defying-

7. Consenting] descending/ established/ imparted

A third copy, now lost, was sent to Sue.

PUBLICATION:The message to Higginson is in Letters (ed. 1931 only), 318. A variant which does not survive in holograph was sent to Maria Whitney:

The face in evanescence lain
Is more distinct than ours
And ours, considered for its sake,
As capsules are for flowers.

It is in Letters (ed. 1894), 339; (ed. 1931), 328; also LL (1924), 319.

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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