poems from dickinson to thomas dwight gilbert

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 86

MANUSCRIPTS: This is one of the poems which ED used to accompany a gift of flowers. The copy reproduced above is in packet 83 (Bingham 17b), written about 1859. A second copy (H 320) is in pencil, written at the same time. It is addressed "Mr. Gilbert-" and is headed "Sir-". Sue's brother, Thomas Dwight Gilbert of Michigan, was in Amherst on 25 July 1859. The note evidently was sent with flowers. The text is identical with that of the packet copy. There are two differences in form:

3] Drink - and are gone.
7] I - softly plucking

There is no stanza division. A third copy (Bingham 98-4B-13), written about 1860, is arranged thus:

South Winds jostle them-
Bumblebees come-
Hover - hesitate - drink - and are gone -
Butterflies pause-on their passage Cashmere-
I - softly plucking -
Present them here.

The fourth copy (BPL Higg 9) was one of three poems which ED enclosed in the second letter she wrote to T. W. Higginson (BPL Higg 51), postmarked 25 April 1862:

South Winds jostle them-
Bumblebees come-
Hover-Hesitate-Drink, and are gone-
Butterflies pause - on their passage Cashmere -
I, softly plucking,
Present them- Here -

PUBLICATION: Poems (1891), 160, titled "With Flowers." The text derives from the packet copy.

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Last updated on February 14, 2000