No autograph copy of this poem is known. It is here reproduced from the transcript prepared by Mrs. Todd as printer's copy for the 1896 edition of Poems. Mrs. Todd probably never saw an autograph copy of this poem, but derived her own transcript from one supplied her by the Norcross cousins.
PUBLICATION: The poem is incorporated in a letter to the Norcrosses, printed in Letters (ed. 1894), 296, where it is dated "Spring, 1883." The text in LL (1924), 345, follows that of the 1894 edition of Letters. In the 1931 edition of Letters the text is unchanged but the letter is dated "March, 1884" (pages 267-268). The letter acknowledges a note of sympathy from the sisters, and the poem is thus introduced:
Thank you, dears, for the sympathy. I hardly dare to know that I have lost another friend, but anguish finds it out.On 13 March 1884, Judge Otis P. Lord, one of ED's closest friends, had died at Salem. The lines are included in Poems (1896), 153, and later collections.