MANUSCRIPT: About November-December 1882, in the text of a letter to T. W. Higginson (H Higg 4). A variant of the lines is in a letter written to James D. Clark, probably at the same time. ED was in correspondence with Clark during the months following the death in April 1882 of Charles Wadsworth - her "dearest earthly friend." The sole variant is a substitution of "his" for "our" (line 1) to give the lines application to Wadsworth. The holograph copy of the letter to Clark is in the Bingham collection.
For a discussion of the relation of this poem to the one beginning "How happy is the little Stone," see the note accompanying the latter.
PUBLICATION: Letters (ed. 1894), 353; (ed. 1931), 346; also LL (1924), 354 - in the letter to Clark; Letters (ed. 1931 only), 317 - in the letter to Higginson.