poems from dickinson to sarah tuckerman

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1366

MANUSCRIPTS: ED wrote three separate poems that seem to be personalized messages touching symbolically on the theme of friendship. That reproduced above (Bingham 107-16) is in pencil on a scrap of paper, written about 1876. Part of a message to Sue (H B 32), written about 1878, accompanied a flower:

Sister of Ophir -
Ah, Peru -
Subtle the Sum
That purchase you -

The third (Amherst College) was incorporated in a note to Mrs. Tuckerman at the time of the death of Elihu Root, the thirty-five-year-old professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in Amherst College, on 3 December 1880. ED did not know him, but knew the esteem with which the Tuckermans had regarded him:

Brother of Ophir
Bright Adieu,
Honor, the shortest route
To you.

PUBLICATION: The earliest version is in BM (1945), 327. The version sent to Sue is in FF (1932), 243, printed as prose. The version sent to Mrs. Tuckerman is in Letters (ed. 1894), 385; (ed. 1931), 375; also LL (1924), 333.

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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 February 21, 2000