letters from dickinson to higginson

7 June 1862

Dear friend.

Your letter gave no Drunkenness, because I tasted Rum before- Domingo comes but once-yet I have had few pleasures so deep as your opinion, and if I tried to thank you, my tears would block my tongue -

My dying Tutor told me that he would like to live till I had been a poet, but Death was much of Mob as I could master-then-And when far afterward-a sudden light on Orchards, or a new fashion in the wind troubled my attention - I felt a palsy, here- the Verses just relieve -

Your second letter surprised me, and for a moment, swung - I had not supposed it. Your first-gave no dishonor, because the True-are not ashamed - I thanked you for your justice -but could not drop the Bells whose jingling cooled my Tramp-Perhaps the Balm, seemed better, because you bled me, first.

I smile when you suggest that I delay "to publish"-that being foreign to my thought, as Firmament to Fin- If fame belonged to me, I could not escape her- if she did not, the longest day would pass me on the chase-and the approbation of my Dog, would forsake me-then-My Barefoot-Rank is better-

You think my gait "spasmodic" -I am in danger-Sir-

You think me "uncontrolled" - I have no Tribunal.

Would you have time to be the "friend" you should think I need? I have a little shape - it would not crowd your Desk-nor make much Racket as the Mouse, that dents your Galleries-

If I might bring you what I do-not so frequent to trouble you- and ask you if I told it clear-'twould be control, to me-

The Sailor cannot see the North-but knows the Needle can-

The "hand you stretch me in the Dark," I put mine in, and turn away-I have no Saxon, now-

As if I asked a common Alms,
And in my wondering hand
A Stranger pressed a Kingdom,
And I, bewildered, stand-
As if I asked the Orient
Had it for me a Morn-
And it should lift it's purple Dikes,
And shatter me with Dawn!

But, will you be my Preceptor, Mr Higginson?

Your friend
E Dickinson-

thomas johnson's note on letter 265 | index to dickinson/higginson letters

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Last updated on September 1, 1998