poems sent from dickinson to frances and louise norcross

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1603

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.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on January 5, 1998