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Golconda (Illinois, United States) (search for this): chapter 20
t, Till, broad as Buenos Ayre, You drifted your dominions A different Peru, And I esteemed all poverty For life's estate, with you. Of mines, I little know, myself, But just the names of gems, The colors of the commonest, And scarce of diadems So much that, did I meet the queen, Her glory I should know; But this must be a different wealth, To miss it, beggars so. I'm sure 't is India, all day, To those who look on you Without a stint, without a blame, Might I but be the Jew! I'm sure it is Golconda Beyond my power to deem, To have a smile for mine, each day, How better than a gem! At least, it solaces to know That there exists a gold Although I prove it just in time Its distance to behold; Its far, far treasure to surmise And estimate the pearl That slipped my simple fingers through While just a girl at school! Here was already manifest that defiance of form, never through carelessness, and never precisely from whim, which so marked her. The slightest change in the order of words
New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 20
ot cross my father's ground to any house or town. Of our greatest acts we are ignorant. You were not aware that you saved my life. To thank you in person has been since then one of my few requests. . .. You will excuse each that I say, because no one taught me. At last, after many postponements, on August 16, 1870, I found myself face to face with my hitherto unseen correspondent. It was at her father's house, one of those large, square, brick mansions so familiar in our older New England towns, surrounded by trees and blossoming shrubs without, and within exquisitely neat, cool, spacious, and fragrant with flowers. After a little delay, I heard an extremely faint and pattering footstep like that of a child, in the hall, and in glided, almost noiselessly, a plain, shy little person, the face without a single good feature, but with eyes, as she herself said, like the sherry the guest leaves in the glass, and with smooth bands of reddish chestnut hair. She had a quaint and
Tunisia (Tunisia) (search for this): chapter 20
-- Did I displease you? But won't you tell me how? Or perhaps the announcement of some event, vast in her small sphere, as this:-- Amherst. Carlo died. E. Dickinson. Would you instruct me now? Or sometimes there would arrive an exquisite little detached strain, every word a picture, like this-- The humming-bird A route of evanescence With a revolving wheel; A resonance of emerald; A rush of cochineal. And every blossom on the bush Adjusts its tumbled head;-- The mail from Tunis, probably, An easy morning's ride. Nothing in literature, I am sure, so condenses into a few words that gorgeous atom of life and fire of which she here attempts the description. It is, however, needless to conceal that many of her brilliant fragments were less satisfying. She almost always grasped whatever she sought, but with some fracture of grammar and dictionary on the way. Often, too, she was obscure, and sometimes inscrutable; and though obscurity is sometimes, in Coleridge's ph
Puritan (Ohio, United States) (search for this): chapter 20
at the white heat? Then crouch within the door; Red is the fire's common tint, But when the vivid ore Has sated flame's conditions, Its quivering substance plays Without a color, but the light Of unanointed blaze. Least village boasts its blacksmith, Whose anvil's even din Stands symbol for the finer forge That soundless tugs within, Refining these impatient ores With hammer and with blaze, Until the designated light Repudiate the forge. Then came the death of her father, that strong Puritan father who had communicated to her so much of the vigor of his own nature, and who bought her many books, but begged her not to read them. Mr. Edward Dickinson, after service in the national House--of Representatives and other public positions, had become a member of the lower house of the Massachusetts legislature. The session was unusually prolonged, and he was making a speech upon some railway question at noon, one very hot day (July 16, 1874), when he became suddenly faint and sat dow
Amherst (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 20
poreal friend. Indebted in our talk to attitude and accent, there seems a spectral power in thought that walks alone. I would like to thank you for your great kindness, but never try to lift the words which I cannot hold. Should you come to Amherst, I might then succeed, though gratitude is the timid wealth of those who have nothing. I am sure that you speak the truth, because the noble do, but your letters always surprise me. My life has been too simple and stern to embarrass any. Seee:-- When I think of my father's lonely life and lonelier death, there is this redress-- Take all away; The only thing worth larceny Is left — the immortality. My earliest friend wrote me the week before he died, If I live, I will go to Amherst; if I die, I certainly will. Is your house deeper off? Your Scholar. A year afterwards came this:-- Dear friend,--Mother was paralyzed Tuesday, a year from the evening father died. I thought perhaps you would care. Your scholar.
Worcester (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 20
ems as it is now, after half a century of further knowledge; and with it came the problem never yet solved, what place ought to be assigned in literature to what is so remarkable, yet so elusive of criticism. The bee himself did not evade the schoolboy more than she evaded me; and even at this day I still stand somewhat bewildered, like the boy. Circumstances, however, soon brought me in contact with an uncle of Emily Dickinson, a gentleman not now living: a prominent citizen of Worcester, Massachusetts, a man of integrity and character, who shared her abruptness and impulsiveness, but certainly not her poetic temperament, from which he was indeed singularly remote. He could tell but little of her, she being evidently an enigma to him, as to me. It is hard to say what answer was made by me, under these circumstances, to this letter. It is probable that the adviser sought to gain time a little and find out with what strange creature he was dealing. I remember to have ventured on
Colorado (Colorado, United States) (search for this): chapter 20
He spoke of a charity. I refused, but did not inquire. He again earnestly urged, on the ground that in that way I might aid unfortunate children. The name of child was a snare to me, and I hesitated, choosing my most rudimentary, and without criterion. I inquired of you. You can scarcely estimate the opinion to one utterly guideless. Again thank you. Your scholar. Again came this, on a similar theme: Dear friend,--Are you willing to tell me what is right? Mrs. Jackson, of Colorado [ H. H., her early schoolmate], was with me a few moments this week, and wished me to write for this. [A circular of the No name series was inclosed.] I told her I was unwilling, and she asked me why? I said I was incapable, and she seemed not to believe me and asked me not to decide for a few days. Meantime, she would write me. She was so sweetly noble, I would regret to estrange her, and if you would be willing to give me a note saying you disapproved it, and thought me unfit, she woul
Peru, Ind. (Indiana, United States) (search for this): chapter 20
now drawn a step nearer, signing her name, and as my friend. It will also be noticed that I had sounded her about certain American authors, then much read; and that she knew how to put her own criticisms in a very trenchant way. With this letter came some more verses, still in the same birdlike script, as for instance the following:--Your riches taught me poverty, Myself a millionaire In little wealths, as girls could boast, Till, broad as Buenos Ayre, You drifted your dominions A different Peru, And I esteemed all poverty For life's estate, with you. Of mines, I little know, myself, But just the names of gems, The colors of the commonest, And scarce of diadems So much that, did I meet the queen, Her glory I should know; But this must be a different wealth, To miss it, beggars so. I'm sure 't is India, all day, To those who look on you Without a stint, without a blame, Might I but be the Jew! I'm sure it is Golconda Beyond my power to deem, To have a smile for mine, each day, How be
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 20
serve your precept, though I don't understand it, always. I marked a line in one verse, because I met it after I made it, and never consciously touch a paint mixed by another person. I do not let go it, because it is mine. Have you the portrait of Mrs. Browning? Persons sent me three. If you had none, will you have mine? Your scholar. A month or two after this I entered the volunteer army of the Civil War, and must have written to her during the,winter of 1862-63 from South Carolina or Florida, for the following reached me in camp :-- Amherst. Dear friend,--I did not deem that planetary forces annulled, but suffered an exchange of territory, or world. I should have liked to see you before you became improbable. War feels to me an oblique place. Should there be other summers, would you perhaps come? I found you were gone, by accident, as I find systems are, or seasons of the year, and obtain no cause, but suppose it a treason of progress that dissolves as
sir. You think me uncontrolled. I have no tribunal. Would you have time to be the friend you should think I need? I have a little shape: it would not crowd your desk, nor make much racket as the mouse that dens your galleries. If I might bring you what I do — not so frequent to trouble you — and ask you if I told it clear, 't would be control to me. The sailor cannot see the North, but knows the needle can. The hand you stretch me in the dark I put mine in, and turn away. I have no Saxon now:-- As if I asked a common alms, And in my wandering hand A stranger pressed a kingdom, And I, bewildered, stand; As if I asked the Orient Had it for me a morn, And it should lift its purple dikes And shatter me with dawn! But, will you be my preceptor, Mr. Higginson? With this came the poem since published in one of her volumes and entitled Renunciation ; and also that beginning Of all the sounds dispatched abroad, thus fixing approximately the date of those two. I must soon have
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