letters from dickinson to james d. clark

late 1882

Dear friend,

I would like to delay the timid pleasure of thanking you, that it might not be so soon expended, but Gratitude is not willing.

It is almost an apparitional joy to hear him cherished now, for I never knew one who knew him.

The Griefs of which you speak were unknown to me, though I knew him a "Man of sorrow," and once when he seemed almost overpowered by a spasm of gloom, I said "You are troubled." Shivering as he spoke, "My Life is full of dark secrets," he said. He never spoke of himself, and encroachment I know would have slain him. He never spoke of his Home, but of a Child - "Willie," whom, forgive me the arrogance, he told me was like me - though I, not knowing "Willie," was benighted still. I am glad you loved him and please to thank your Brother for prizing him so much. He was a Dusk Gem, born of troubled Waters, astray in any Crest below. Heaven might give him Peace, it could not give him Grandeur, for that he carried with himself to whatever scene -

Obtaining but his own extent
In whatsoever Realm -
'Twas Christ's own personal Expanse
That bore him from the Tomb.

Thank you for the Face - which I fear it fatigued you too much to seek - and for the monition, tho' to disclose a grief of his I could not surmise -

Your sweet attempt to repair the irreparable, I must also remember.

I do not yet fathom that he has died - and hope I may not till he assists me in another World - "Hallowed be it's Name"! But I fear I fatigue you. I would be glad to see you, and talk with you more boundlessly - I hope your Health may return. I have not been able to thank you.

E. Dickinson.

thomas johnson's note on letter 776 | index to dickinson/j. clark letters

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Last updated on November 19, 1999