MANUSCRIPTS: There are three holographs of this poem which apparently was written sometime early in 1866. The copy reproduced above (BPL Higg 13) was enclosed in a letter to T. W. Higginson (BPL Higg 64) postmarked 27 January 1866. The letter (Letters [ed. 1931 only], 281) tersely announces the death of her dog and requests Higginson's criticism of the poem:
AmherstHigginson has tentatively titled it by a penciled query in the upper left margin: "Insect-Sounds?"
The copy sent to Higginson was preceded very possibly in the same month of January by a semifinal draft (Bingham l09-3):
Further in Summer than the Birds"Antiquest" she first wrote "Antiquer," but in pencil she overlaid the final "r" with "st," and to confirm her decision she wrote "Antiquest" in pencil above the original word. It was the only alteration she judged necessary and, with its adoption, the fair copy to Higginson is identical with it in text. Some seventeen years later, in mid-March 1883 she chose this as the poem to enclose in a letter (Bingham 106) to Thomas Niles, editor of the publishing house of Roberts Brothers. She arranged it as two eight-line stanzas and introduced variants in lines 7, 11, and 15:
Further in Summer than the Birds-Niles had recently sent her a copy of Mathilde Blind's life of George Eliot just issued by his firm. She acknowledges receipt of the volume and thanks him by transcribing two of her poems (Letters [ed. 1931], 406):
I bring you a chill Gift-My Cricket- and the Snow-Thus she indicates a title for this poem. "Snow" is her poem beginning "It sifts from leaden sieves."
Though no other holographs exist, there is a transcript of this poem which contains new third, fourth, and fifth stanzas. Mrs. Millicent Todd Bingham, who published it, believes the transcript to have been made by ED's cousin Frances Norcross:
Further in summer than the birdsOne might assume that the original of this version was written late from the fact that two of the three variants correspond to those in the Niles copy. (Stanzas 3, 4, 5 of the Norcross transcript are not reckoned in the line count.)
PUBLICATION: Poems (1891), 167, titled "My Cricket." The text follows either the semifinal copy or the copy to Higginson. Three alterations have been introduced which have no warrant in the extant manuscripts or the Norcross transcript:
1. Further] Farther
The Norcross transcript is published in New England Quarterly, XX (1947), 12-13.