MANUSCRIPTS: There are three, all written probably in 1864. The poem may have been inspired in a moment of longing for home shortly after she arrived in Cambridge in late April 1864 for eye treatment. The copy reproduced above (Library of Congress) presumably was sent to Sue; it is in pencil, signed "Emily." The copy in packet 92 (Bingham 77c), the only one in ink, is identical in text:
Away from Home are some and I -Neither of the fair copies adopts the suggested change. The second fair copy (Bingham 98-4B-6) is signed "Emily." IT is also in pencil and may have been intended for or sent to some friend; it is variant in its first line:
Away from Home, are They and I -A fourth copy, the source of the published version, is now lost.
PUBLICATION: The lost copy is the one sent to Mrs. J. G. Holland, printed in Letters (ed. 1894), 178; (ed. 1931), 172; also LL (1924), 261. In the 1894 edition (and also in LL) it appears as an eight-line stanza, with the fourth line reading:
Is common possibility.In the 1931 edition the poem is printed as two quatrains with the same fourth line, but with a footnote referring to it saying:
Alternative line, "Is easy, possibly."Such an alternative reading in any fair copy is most unlikely. It is probable that Mrs. Todd, who had returned the Holland letters and poems to Mrs. Holland as soon as she had completed copy for the 1894 edition, used the packet copy as her source for the footnote, which appears only in the 1931 edition. In the copy to Mrs. Holland, ED evidently had substituted her original alternative "common" for "easy." But "possibility" is almost certainly a misreading; it renders the line meaningless and destroys the meter. The poem, derived from the 1931 edition of Letters, is in LH (1951), 68.