poems from dickinson to gertrude vanderbilt

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 830

MANUSCRIPTS: The copy reproduced above (Collamore) was written in pencil in the summer of 1864. It is addressed "Mrs. Gertrude -" and signed "Emily." On 20 March 1864, Mrs. Vanderbilt was summoned to her back door by cries of distress and accidentally received a pistol shot intended for her maid. Her critical illness but ultimate recovery moved ED to send her two poems, this and the poem that follows. At the same time she sent the poem, she made a second copy in ink which she placed in packet 33 (H 176c). Its text is identical with that of the copy to Mrs. Vanderbilt, but it differs somewhat in form:

To this World she returned
But with a tinge of that
A Compound manner as a Sod
Espoused a Violet -

That chiefer to the Skies
Than to Himself allied
Dwelt hesitating, half of Dust
And half of Day the Bride.

PUBLICATION: The printed text, which derives from the copy to Mrs. Vanderbilt, is in Letters (ed. 1894), 154; (ed. 1931), 152; also LL (1924), 259. One word is altered:

2. tinge] tingle

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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 14, 2000