letters from dickinson to elizabeth holland

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 683

MANUSCRIPT: HCL (H 55). Pencil. Dated: Tuesday.


Dr. David P. Smith, a lecturer at Yale Medical School, was an esteemed citizen of Springfield, and his death on Sunday, 26 December, was poignantly noted throughout the Connecticut Valley. He had been a consultant physician for the Dickinsons for some years.

This brief letter is freighted with scripture quotation, allusion, and paraphrase. The first quotations has in mind Philippians 1.23 : "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ: which is far better." The second quotes the conclusion of Revelation 21.1 : "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." From Deuteronomy 33.25, comes the line: ". . . and, as thy days, so shall they strength be." The conclusion of the letter alludes to Matthew 6.28: "Consider the lilies of the field. . ."

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
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Last updated on December 12, 1999