poems from dickinson to sarah tuckerman

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1617

MANUSCRIPT: The copy reproduced above (Esty) is a message sent to Mrs. Edward Tuckerman, who dated it in the margin January 1884. The poems follows the salutation "Dear friend," and concludes "Emily, with love -." A second copy (Bingham 99-16), with identical salutation and signature, written at the same time, may well have been the original draft of which the copy to Mrs. Tuckerman is a redaction, variant in the final line:

To try to speak, and miss the Way,
And ask it of the Tears,
Is Gratitude's sweet poverty,
The Tatters that he wears.

A better Coat if he possest,
Would help him to conceal,
Not subjugate, the Mutineer
Discreetly called "the Soul."

PUBLICATION: The message to Mrs. Tuckerman is in Letters (ed. 1894), 389; (ed. 1931), 378; also LL (1924), 369.

return to poem 1617 | index to dickinson/s. tuckerman poems

search the archives

dickinson/s. tuckerman correspondence main page | dickinson electronic archives main menu

Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on January 21, 1999