No autograph copy of this poem is known; it is here reproduced from the printed text. On Saturday, 14 June 1884, ED collapsed, about noon while baking a cake, from what she says the doctor described as a "revenge of the nerves." The lines are incorporated in a letter to the Norcross cousins, written some eight weeks after her collapse, early in August. She describes her returning strength and introduces the poem by saying:
The little boy we laid away never fluctuates, and his dim society is companion still. But it is growing damp and I must go in. Memory's fog is rising.She has in mind the death of her eight-year-old nephew Gilbert in October 1883.
PUBLICATION: Letters (ed. 1894), 298; (ed. 1931), 269; also LL (1924), 368.