poems sent from dickinson to elizabeth holland

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1515

MANUSCRIPT: The fair copy reproduced above (H H 70), written late in 1881, is incorporated in a letter sent to Mrs. J. G. Holland sometime after the death of Dr. Holland on 12 October. A rough draft written at the same time (Bingham 98-2-3) is jotted down on two scraps of paper fastened together by a pin:

The Things that never can come back, are several -
Childhood - some forms of Hope - the Dead -
But Joys like Men may sometimes make a Journey
And still abide -

We do not mourn for Traveler or Sailor -
Their Routes are fair -
But think - enlarged - of all that they will tell us -
Returning here -

"Here!" There are typic "Heres" - Foretold Locations -
The Spirit does not stand -
Himself - at whatsoever Fathom
His Native Land -

This may be the original worksheet draft, and if so the poem was created in a finished state. "But" (line 3) is altered to "Though" in the fair copy; there are no other changes.

PUBLICATION: The copy to Mrs. Holland is in LH (1951), 157. The rough draft version is in BM (1945), 269.

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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