year afterwards came this : --
DEAR FRIEND, -- Mother was paralyzed Tuesday, a year from the evening father died. I thought perhaps you
With this came the following verse,
having a curious seventeenth-century flavor --
A death-blow is a life-blow to some,
Who, till they died, did not alive become;
Who, had they lived, had died, but when
They died, vitality begun.
And later came this kindred memorial of one of the oldest and most faithful friends of the family, Mr.
Samuel Bowles of the Springfield Republican: --
DEAR FRIEND, -- I felt it shelter to
speak to you.
My brother and sister are with Mr.
Bowles, who is buried this afternoon.
The last song that I heard -- that
was, since the birds -- was "He leadeth
me, he leadeth me; yea, though I walk"
-- then the voices stooped, the arch was
After this added bereavement the inward life of the diminished household
became only more concentrated, and the
world was held farther and farther
away. Yet to this period belongs the
following letter, written about 1880,
which has more of what is commonly
called the objective or external quality
than any she ever wrote me; and shows
how close might have been her observation and her sympathy, had her rare
qualities taken a somewhat different
DEAR FRIEND, -- I was touchingly
reminded of [a child who had died] this
morning by an Indian woman with gay
baskets and a dazzling baby, at the
kitchen door. Her little boy "once
died," she said, death to her dispelling
him. I asked her what the baby liked,
and she said "to step." The prairie
before the door was gay with flowers of
hay, and I led her in. She argued with
the birds, she leaned on clover walls
and they fell, and dropped her. With
jargon sweeter than a bell, she grappled
buttercups, and they sank together, the
buttercups the heaviest. What sweetest use of days! It was noting some
such scene made Vaughan humbly say, "My days that are at best but dim and hoary." I think it was Vaughan...
And these few fragmentary memorials
-- closing, like every human biography,
with funerals, yet with such as were to
Emily Dickinson only the stately introduction to a higher life -- may well end with her description of the death of the very summer she so loved.
As imperceptibly as grief
The summer lapsed away,
Too imperceptible at last
To feel like perfidy.
A quietness distilled,
As twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
The dusk drew earlier in,
The morning foreign shone,
A courteous yet harrowing grace
As guest that would be gone.
And thus without a wing
Or service of a keel
Our summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful.