poems sent from dickinson to elizabeth holland

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1084

MANUSCRIPT: There are four, identical in text, all written about 1866. That reproduced above (H 191a) is in packet 35. A second copy (H H 97), in pencil, addressed "Doctor -" and signed "Emily -," was sent to Dr. Holland. It is identical in form with the packet copy except that line 10 has no punctuation at the end, a comma follows "Place" (line 11), and four words are not capitalized:

5. experiment
7. her
9. element
10. implement

A third copy, in pencil (Bingham), signed "Emily -," was sent to an unidentified friend. It is identical in form with the packet copy except that the same four words are not capitalized as in the Holland copy. A fourth copy (Bingham 98-4B-5) has an altered line arrangement:

At Half past Three
A single Bird
Unto a silent sky
Propounded but a single term
Of cautious melody.

At Half past Four
Experiment had subjugated test
And lo, her silver principle
Supplanted all the rest.

At Half past Seven
Element nor implement be seen
And Place was where the Presence was
Circumference between

PUBLICATION: Poems (1891), 114. The text derives from the packet copy. One word is altered:

10. be] was

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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 January 19, 1999