poems sent from dickinson to elizabeth holland

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1334

MANUSCRIPTS: The text reproduced above (H ST 22b) is that of a transcript made by Sue of a copy, now lost, which ED sent to her. A variant of the first stanza is incorporated in a letter (H H 34) written in late January 1875 to Mrs. J. G. Holland. Edward Dickinson had died in June of the previous year. The poem and the lines that introduce it read thus:

Mother is asleep in the Library - Vinnie - in the Dining Room - Father - in the Masked Bed - in the Marl House.

How soft his Prison is -
How sweet those sullen Bars -
No Despot - but the King of Dawn
Invented that Repose!

PUBLICATION: The letter to Mrs. Holland is in LH (1951), 102. The stanzas sent to Sue are unpublished.

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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 March 2, 2000