poems sent from dickinson to elizabeth holland

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1390

MANUSCRIPT: The text reproduced above was incorporated in a letter (H H 46) written to Dr. J. G. Holland in early January 1878. A variant of the second stanza was incorporated in a letter (BPL Higg 87) written to T. W. Higginson, just a year before, in early January 1877:

To wane without disparagement
In a dissembling hue
That will not let the eye decide
If it abide or no

Another copy of the variant stanza is incorporated in a note to Sue (H B 54); it appears to have been written at the same time and is identical with it in text and form. There is a fourth holograph of the second stanza (Bingham 99-14), in pencil, which may have been written about the time ED wrote her letter to Dr. Holland; it is identical with the stanza in that letter except that "hue" is not capitalized.

PUBLICATION: The letter to Dr. Holland is in LH (1951), 123. The note to Sue is in FF (1932), 265, where the prose conclusion of the note is printed as part of the poem. The letter to Higginson is in Letters (ed. 1931 only), 302, where the lines of the poem are printed as prose.

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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 February 21, 2000