poems sent from dickinson to higginson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1509

MANUSCRIPT: There are three, two fair copies and a worksheet draft from which they derive, all written in the spring or early summer of 1881. That reproduced above (BPL Higg 45) was one of four poems enclosed in a letter (Porter) to T. W. Higginson. Each of the four ED has identified in the letter by title (see Letters, ed. 1931 only, 314). This she named "Cupid's Sermon." The other fair copy (Bingham 98-3-18) is identical in text and form with the copy to Higginson. The worksheet draft (Bingham 98-3-17) shows the poem in its first state:

Mine Enemy is growing old -
I have at last revenge -
The Palate of the Hate departs -
If any would avenge
Let him be quick -
The Viand flits -
It is a faded Meat -
Anger as soon as fed - is dead -
'Tis starving makes it fat -

I. Mine Enemy] My Foe-        7. faded Meat] phantom Meat-
6] The Banquet cools-

She rejected her suggested changes in her fair copies. On the verve of the second fair copy in ED's hand is the note:

With love, for Supper-if deferred it will fade like Ice Cream.

PUBLICATION: Poems (1891), 67, titled "Time's Lesson." It follows the text and form of the fair copies.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
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Last updated on September 25, 1998