MANUSCRIPT: There are two. The copy reproduced above concludes a letter (H B 79) which ED wrote Sue shortly after the death of Gilbert, the eight-year-old son of Austin and Susan. Gilbert died on 5 October 1883, and the lines are in his memory. Some eighteen months later, in February 1885, she again incorporated them in a letter (BPL Higg 115), this time to T.W. Higginson. She had asked his permission to present him with J.W. Cross, George Eliot's Life Related in Her Letters and Journals when it should be published. The stanza concludes the note she sent to accompany her gift when the two volumes appeared early in 1885, and the line here apply to George Eliot. They are identical in text and form with that above, except that line 2 is without punctuation.
PUBLICATION:The letter to Sue is in LL (1924), 85, where the stanza is arranged as prose. The letter to Higginson is in Letters (ed. 1931 only), 319.