Of poetry, we “have what we take”, as there never is going to be a master key or blueprint to allow universal interpretation. This is what I like about poetry. However, veracity of the original material is an objective regard: to read verses, we care if it was the author to shape them the way we can see.
WHY THE FIRST PRINT?
Views on Emily Dickinson’s poetry changed in 1955, when Thomas H. Johnson published The poems of Emily Dickinson. Harvard University received manuscripts of her poetry in 1950, as a gift from Gilbert H. Montague. In 1956, Amherst College was given a collection by Millicent Todd Bingham.
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It was after Johnson’s print that comments came, on an “extensive” or even “pervasive” custom for dashes, “unconventional” or “unexpected” use of capital letters, or summarily an “idiosyncratic poetic practice” by Ms. Dickinson.
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Emily Dickinson’s poetry was a success with people of her times. She, as well as her readers, knew proper spelling and punctuation, even if simply aware of the founding texts, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights.
In the Declaration, John Dunlap’s peculiarity would have been in the big letters to begin all nouns, forms deriving from nouns, and phrases to have nouns for their heads — yet he did that according to quite a prevalent and known printing style at the time.
Outside the style, we may have capital letters to specify on terms. John Carter capitalized the Constitution as that of the United States. For particular States, he spelled the word “constitution” with a small letter. Feel welcome to a few notes.
• GRAMMAR WEB LOG: THE CONSTITUTION
Emily Dickinson certainly did not mean her poetry for only a joke, though her poems show a sense of humor as well. Her works were first printed in year 1890, prepared by Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd. They knew Emily Dickinson in person, that is, they knew how she made notes, or drafted her poems, as well as what a clean copy was to look — according to herself. Their edition does not have the “idiosyncrasies”. Those occurred with the Johnson print, in year 1955.
We may begin with a simple question: do we believe Emily Dickinson tried to tell about very exceptional Bees, Ears, or Birds, so peculiar that you write them with capital letters? We can use the Johnson print of the poem Safe in their Alabaster Chambers, Time and Eternity IV.
Light laughs the breeze
In her Castle above them—
Babbles the Bee in a stolid Ear,
Pipe the Sweet Birds in ignorant cadence—
Ah, what sagacity perished here!
Over the Internet, we can have a glimpse at SAMPLE F124C, a draft of Safe in their Alabaster Chambers from Houghton, one of Harvard University libraries. It is an autograph, a piece Emily Dickinson wrote herself in pencil. She used big letters to mark PROSODIC STRESS.
HOUGHTON SAMPLE F124C;
CLICK TO SEE INTERNET LARGE IMAGE.
The habit of the hand has an open ε, we can compare diadεms, Dogεs, and soundless. This matter is not in word stress or vowel length. We can see the Rεsurrections in the handwritten copy of Renunciation, published by LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY, and the Edεn in the manuscript of “Wild Nights”, published by Higginson and Todd in 1891.
EMILY DICKINSON’S HANDWRITING IN PRINT BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY; CLICK TO SEE INTERNET LARGE IMAGE.
EMILY DICKINSON’S MANUSCRIPT OF “WILD NIGHTS”; CLICK TO SEE INTERNET LARGE IMAGE.
In a mid position, between front and back, as well as low and high vowels, there is a speech sound central quality. Some phonetic scripts may interpret this mid for the SHWA. The character ε resembles the Greek EPSILON. It might have been to mark vowel height in relation to the mid shwa.
The capital letters and the epsilon were not intended for print. We can compare Success as published in “A Masque of Poets”, when Emily Dickinson lived.
HOUGHTON 72S-700; CLICK TO SEE INTERNET LARGE IMAGE.
To continue with the analysis of copy physical qualities, let us have a look at another sample from Houghton, F124B. The poem is Safe in their Alabaster Chambers, still.
HOUGHTON SAMPLE F124B; CLICK TO SEE INTERNET LARGE IMAGE.
The copy was accepted by both Johnson and Franklin, and the habit of the hand does not have the characteristic T we can see in sample F124C.
(TH) IN HOUGHTON SAMPLE F124C; CLICK TO SEE INTERNET LARGE IMAGE.
F124B looks closer to a fair copy than F124C, and the shape of the letter T grows bigger — and not smaller — along with Emily Dickinson’s finalizing the text. We can recur to the Little and Brown print of Renunciation, for the words there, thought, or that. The writing looks less casual than in F124C.
Theories on Emily Dickinson’s worsening eyesight fail with an important regard: the writing characters in F124B are not larger, or separated more broadly.
Let us now analyze Houghton F67A and F67B, copies of the poem Too Late. They show the text re-written almost consistently with the print by Higginson and Todd.
F67A differs from Higginson-Todd in two words, joy and remaining; F67B only with the word joy. Looking to the rhyme, we can see the word joy does not fit.
Delayed till she had ceased to know,
Delayed till in its vest of snow
Her loving bosom lay.
An hour behind the fleeting breath,
Later by just an hour than death, —
Oh, lagging yesterday!
Could she have guessed that it would be;
Could but a crier of the joy (?) [Higginson-Todd: glee]
Have climbed the distant hill;
Had not the bliss so slow a pace,—
Who knows but this surrendered face
Were undefeated still?
It is hard to believe the author would have re-written the poem entire (a few times!), with one odd word, and more, in a different hand. RADIOCARBON DATING might prove precious, along with C14 for the ink.
Also in Emily Dickinson’s times, the word glee might mean a song. “Glee and glory”, the song and fame theme of Anglo-Saxon legends, is much less familiar to the reading public today.
The word joy in the place of glee would lose the potential association, and it might even imply the “loving” person enjoyed the death of the “loved” one (hence the quotation marks).
The poem, though ironic, does not support any such inference. The verse may suggest PRINCE ALBERT OF SAXE-COBURG AND GOTHA, whose marriage with queen Victoria was surrounded with propaganda of family tremendous happiness, questioned in the queen’s times and later. Present day, we can read the doubt by historian Jane Ridley, via BBC NEWS. It was during queen Victoria’s “domestic bliss” there came another tension between the United States and Britain, in the TRENT AFFAIR. Prince Albert died in December.
To think about the poetic matter on paper, we may consider the Bequest (Love, II): there is something particular about its meter.
If we regard vowel reduction, natural in English, the Bequest will give two stanzas of 8 and 5 lengths. Ancient canons allowed to “sum up” vowel length. Emily Dickinson used her epsilon only in places for the letter shape “e”. We can use use the symbol з, deriving it from PHOENICIAN, a most popular script by merchants in the ancient Mediterranean. Our symbol relates vowel length and the shwa.
Boldface is to highlight the prosodic stress. The superscript letter S marks vowels that would be the shortest, in proximity with prosodically prominent positions:
8 You left me, sweet, two le_gз_cies, —
5 A le_Sgз_cy Sзf love
8 A Hea_Svзn_ly Fa_Sthзr would con_tent,
5 Had He Sthз of_Sfзr of;
8 You left me baund_Sdз_rēz of pain
5 SCз_pa_Sciзs as the sea,
8 Be_tween e_tзr_nı_ty and time,
5 Your con_Ssciзs_Snзss and me.
In the word “boundaries”, the diphthong does not make two vowels, but it can “add up” with the adjacent Sз; in “eternity”, word stress is on the central quality з.
The “capital letters” in sample P90-28 on HOUGHTON DISPLAY, and the prosodic highlight above converge considerably; the sample yet looks altered in wording.
P90-28, BEQUEST; CLICK TO SEE INTERNET LARGE IMAGE.
All the above together, the prints of today present unfinished versions for Emily Dickinson’s poems, some re-written in a different, possibly another hand, whereas a specially capitalized Bee or Ear is not capable of providing for the poetic appeal.
Aware that not all manuscripts in their possession are genuine, that is, not all were penned by Emily Dickinson, authors for Amherst College say that recovery of the manner the poet worked on language is rather impossible: there is not enough original material.
It is impossible for any transcription of these fragments to capture the important details of how Dickinson originally laid out her poetry on the page.
The first print is my only resolve.
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Punctuation is to delineate on semantic scopes. In poetry, the text comes in verses, and their ends may work as commas. Let us put text in one line, to see the comma and verse roles.
I died for beauty, but was scarce adjusted in the tomb…
We might get an impression a person was hardly fitting in a coffin, but it is usual to pause a little, when we read the end of the line. We can express this pause with a “default comma”.
I died for beauty, but was scarce, adjusted in the tomb…
Indeed, the poetic person does not have spatial concerns, and soon gets company (Time and Eternity X, I Died for Beauty).
In The Lonely House (Life, XV), the suspicion, whatever way to try it for poetic, that the Sun might have been capable of opening the door, allows for the thought something has been stolen from the household:
While the old couple, just astir,
Fancy the sunrise left the door ajar!
However, the first print might have lost a comma:
While the old couple, just astir,
Fancy the sunrise, left the door ajar!
THE THEMATIC STANZA
The Lonely House (Life, XV) proves that Emily Dickinson was not stereotyped in her written composition:
I know some lonely houses off the road
A robber ‘d like the look of, —
And windows hanging low,
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In a Library (Life, X) yet shows the poet’s work was not finished:
The gown that Dante deified.
Facts, centuries before,
He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town…
VIEW: INTERNET ARCHIVE, FIRST PRINT, IN A LIBRARY.
Emily Dickinson’s HEALTH CONDITION did not let her even title all the poems.
Stanzas need to be integral units of word sense. The Wind (Nature, XXIV) encourages a consideration of the stanza as a thematic structure.
Of all the sounds despatched abroad,
There’s not a charge to me
Like that old measure in the boughs,
That phraseless melody
The wind does, working like a hand
Whose fingers brush the sky,
Then quiver down, with tufts of tune
Permitted gods and me.
When winds go round and round in bands,
And thrum upon the door,
And birds take places overhead,
To bear them orchestra;
We can close the stanza with the semicolon here: the comma at stanza end may give the impression something is interrupted, fragmented. The first print does use the semicolon for stanza closing; to delineate as here, descriptions of circumstances, thematically self-contained structures. The Heart Asks Pleasure First (Life, IX), In a Library (Life, X), and Whether my Bark Went Down at Sea (Life, XXIV) can embrace the use as well.
The comma marks semantic elements that continue to expand. Let us view Success (Life, I).
Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,
As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear!
The verse brings a picture of enemy brief and transient victory. Making my decision for the unitary layout, I could follow the Houghton print image, 72S-700, as presented also in Wikipedia.
HOUGHTON 72S-700; CLICK TO SEE INTERNET LARGE IMAGE.
Thomas Niles, the publisher, reportedly admitted in his letter to Emily Dickinson, “you have doubtless perceived [it] was slightly changed in phraseology” (as presented in WIKIPEDIA, Sewall, Richard B. The Life of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003 (sixth edition): ISBN 0-674-53080-2).
The final verses as in the Masque of Poets would have success defined by a person to experience failure: the enemy takes the flag and the lead character dies, hearing shouts of exultation, the distant strains of triumph break, agonizing clear.
Opposite semantics yet never becomes misnomers, in Emily Dickinson’s writing. The Higginson-Todd has the lead character lose the flag, yet it is not far away he can hear the enemy defeated:
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear.
Despite praise, Emily Dickinson did not like to publish, and that might have been owing to publication errors. The problem here yet was in wording, not in the poem shape.
It was thematic integrity to make me present the Psalm of the Day (Nature, XII) as a 3×3 — 6 — 2×3 — 6 layout, whereas the notion of a thematically self-contained structure encouraged me to present the Summer’s Armies as stanzas of three lines of text.
The sake of thematically self-contained structures made me shape the text in two stanzas for the Transplanted (Love, X) and Death and Life (Nature, XXV). Regard to the train of thought required to join the verses into unitary layouts for the Dawn (Life, XVII), Perhaps You’d Like to Buy a Flower (Nature, IV), A Train Went through a Burial Gate (Time and Eternity, IX), and The Bustle in a House (Time and Eternity, XXII).
Word sense indicated to consider the comma for A Service of Song (Nature, VI), One Dignity (Time and Eternity, I) and The Funeral (Time and Eternity, XIII).
The semicolon rather than the comma closes the first stanza in The Grass (Nature, IX); the semicolon remains for the fourth, owing to the phrasal development:
And even when it dies, to pass
In odors so divine,
As lowly spices gone to sleep,
Or amulets of pine;
And then to dwell in sovereign barns…
I leave the comma and dash combination in The Outlet (Love, XI). The locutionary intent in the last verse depend on its precedent:
I’ll fetch thee brooks
From spotted nooks, —
Say, sea, take me!
We could say the comma and dash mark a phrasal anaphora or, in simpler words, that the sense of making an offer depends on what is offered.
The dot can mark an ended train of thought, in the first stanza of Along the Potomac (Time and Eternity, XXXIII). The semicolon holds for the third and fifth stanzas in the Indian Summer (Nature, XXVII), as well as for the second thematic stanza in Emancipation.
I have arranged the stanzas thematically for the Library (Life, X), In Vain (Love, XII), Resurrection (Love, XV), The Wife (Love, XVII), Apotheosis (Love, XVIII), May-Flower (Nature, II), Purple Clover (Nature, XIV), The Bee (Nature, XV), A Day (Nature, XXII), The Hemlock (Nature, XXX), The Funeral (Time and Eternity, XIII), and I Went to Thank Her (Time and Eternity, XIV).
These are all my adaptations. They might look many, but they are only to help perceive the text in its flow, and do not alter the semantics. They bring definitely less change, if to compare other presentations of Emily Dickinson’s poetry after the first print.
THE GREEK AND LATIN INSPIRATION
It is natural, for a person with an affect for language, to study it to detail. Emily Dickinson evidently did such a study.
Not only stanzas or syntax, words have constituents, too. Word particles can be inspiration. Let us compare Latin and Greek for particle –lus-.
- Much madness is divinest sense, Life XI, Greek alusson, madwort, Farsetia clypeata; alussos, curing madness; alusidotos, wrought in chain.
Sample searches here include Greek spelling.
- Exclusion, Life XIII, the Latin divinatio could mean an examination to conclude in a secret vote; hence the divine majority can be interpreted for a secret, own resolve.
- Unreturning, Life XXIII, Greek anaplusis, washing or rinsing out; anelusis, going up, return; elusis, step, gait; Latin lenunculus, a small sailing-vessel, bark, skiff (the toddling little boat).
- Have you got a brook in your little heart, Love, IX, Latin rivulus, a small brook, petty stream; galgulus, small bird; aridulus, somewhat dry.
- On this long storm, Time and Eternity V, Greek enelusios, struck by lightning.
- Playmates, Time and Eternity XVIII, Latin collusor, companion at play; condiscipulus, school-mate; angelus, a messenger, an angel; lapillus, small stone, pebble; lusus, a game; Greek omelusia, companionship.
Please try the Perseus language tool, for Latin and Greek.
The morpheme patterning precedes a psychological presentation in Along the Potomac (Time and Eternity, XXXIII). The Latin angellus, double el, meant an angle.
To look at her ; how slowly
The seasons must have turned
Till bullets dipt an angle,
And he passed quickly round !
But proud in apparition,
That woman and her boy
Pass back and forth before my brain,
As ever in the sky.
I Asked No Other Thing (Life, XII), builds an abstract picture on particle -upo/ypo-, in Greek as well as Latin: isotypos, shaped alike, synypoptosis, simultaneous presentation to the senses, cauponarius, a male shopkeeper, tradesman, upopternis, knob (a button that can twirl, in modern terms), and upo, below, looking at a picture (as for Brazil on a map).
I asked no other thing,
No other was denied.
I offered Being for it;
The mighty merchant smiled.
Brazil? He twirled a button,
Without a glance my way:
“But, madam, is there nothing else
That we can show to-day?”
TO ANTIQUITY AND BACK
For thousands of years, language particles have been able to make more than one word, in more than one language. Already ancients viewed words as capable of more than one sense.
In Latin, the word praesentio did not refer only to presaging; it also meant predictive perception. Praesens meant in sight, present. The word shape preasensus was the same to indicate something or someone predictably present or a presentiment.
In the Presentiment, Nature XVI, the plural form, suns, may suggest the Proto-Indo-European theory by WILLIAM JONES (a fellow of THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON FOR IMPROVING NATURAL KNOWLEDGE). He speculated that European and Far East Indian languages came from one ancestor language.
There has never been any evidence to this. To compare just Latin and Greek, we have dissimilar words for the Sun: Sol and Helios (the suns).. In the poem, every noun is in the singular, except the suns, and that obviously does not support the PIE. Feel welcome to read, NO MEN, WOMEN, CHILDREN, OR HOUSES WITH THE PIE.
There have been attempts to unify linguistic realities, as the Proto-Indo-European theory by
Some differentiation yet becomes dismissed from language, as the form some one, quite usual in translations of Latin classics, as Cicero. The difference in spelling was to mean “some specific, indicated person”, and “someone” remained potentially synonymous with “anyone”. Today, the context resolves on the difference (Beclouded, Nature XXIX).
In poetry also today, a present tense may not tell anything actual. It can serve a presentation.
All the following poems were given linguistic forms for the grammatical present. The poet also allowed them the word divine, in senses as psychological or select. In Exclusion (Life, XIII), the soul to decide on oneself follows own divine majority or, to regard ancient Latin, the priority of own will. The divinest sense of Much Madness (Life, XI) brings on the human psyche as well.
The odors so divine in The Grass (Nature, IX), the clew divine in The Chrysalis (Time and Eternity, VI), and the divine intoxication in Setting Sail (Time and Eternity, VII), all refer to exquisite and earthly experiences.
In Emily Dickinson’s poetry, words as heavens, skies, or divine, would often correlate with the Latin cœlum, also to have meant, “where the stars are”, “out there”, “away from Earth”, or “the highest”, for quality. She was educated in the classics.
When Plato was a certainty,
And Sophocles a man;
When Sappho was a living girl…
(Life X, In a Library).
In ancient Roman mythologies, heavens or skies also were “somewhere out there, the souls of the deceased went”. An eagle, aquila in Latin, was a funerary symbol, too. In Emily Dickinson’s poetry, the words heaven or skies do not presume on the Last Judgment and salvation; they are closer to “after we die”:
I reason that in heaven
Somehow, it will be even,
Some new equation given;
But what of that?
(I Reason, Earth Is Short, Time and Eternity XXIII).
Some predicate forms in her poetry can be associated with ancient Greek philosophers.
Captivity is consciousness,
(Time and Eternity, XXXV, Emancipation).
The philosophers organized concepts in categories. We can interpret the lines above as captivity belongs with the category of CONSCIOUSNESS; one is aware whether captive, and it is the same with the state or condition of being free. We can find the logical predication in Aristotle, for example.
English is a non-flexing language. To purport that consciousness is captivity, we would have to follow the regular word order and say literally,
*consciousness is captivity.
Mine, Love I, may suggest of a rare book, possibly on Greek poetry or philosophy. The white vote was that of approval in ancient Greece, which in matters of the state had to be affirmed by officials named the prytaneis. No modern political interpretation for a vote would apply. First “white primaries” were held after 1890, and Emily Dickinson died in 1886.
Therefore, the royal seal would be an ex libris, a stamp literally to say, from among the books owned by… Webster 1828 DISPLAY PAGE 544, derives delirium from wandering off the furrow, and those were counted. Ex libris pages often are those without number, at book beginning or end.
THE SUPERNATURAL, OR GOD
Beyond doubt, Emily Dickinson used the poetic person, the phrase to be my preference over the lyrical subject. The phrase the poetic person is not the same as a human being; it is linguistically as the grammatical person, where we can use personal pronouns for animals or things as well, please see Nature VI, A Service of Song, or Life XX, I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed.
Emily Dickinson also would use the first person pronouns, I or we, in abstraction from material existence, as in Life XVI, To Fight Aloud Is Very Brave, or Love XIII, Renunciation. Reference to human material reality yet does not mean the poet herself in Love XIV, Love’s Baptism.
However her poetry is not a confession, Emily Dickinson’s way to present matters of faith always involves the human being as a feeling and thinking entity: material, spiritual, or both.
One may be mildly humorous (here, about oneself), yet if one thinks, one does not presume on the outcome or result of events.
For heaven is a different thing
Conjectured, and waked sudden in,
(Life, IV, Rouge Gagne). We can compare The Butterfly’s Assumption-Gown (Nature, XXIII), a humorous piece where an association with A PRIORI reckoning may come in parallel with The Chrysalis.
It is thinking to let a human being take comfort in reading:
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!
(Life, XXI, A Book).
It is a human feeling, to want the affection to survive:
Before the judgment-seat of God,
The last and second time
These fleshless lovers met,
A heaven in a gaze,
A heaven of heavens, the privilege
Of one another’s eyes.
(Love, XV, Resurrection).
It is human feeling and thinking, to associate physical phenomena and emotional response:
There’s a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.
Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.
(Nature, XXXI, There Is a Certain Slant of Light).
The ordinary, everyday human can make a difference, without even appearing in the poem: belief in God is a human matter.
It makes no difference abroad,
The seasons fit the same…
(Nature, XX, Two Worlds). We may compare A Service of Song, where a bird, even if complaining about some regular preacher length of sermon, celebrates when humans do.
God or Heavenly Father, the words belong with human notionality, and the notionality happens to vary, as well as change over time:
You left me, sweet, two legacies, —
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content
Had He the offer of…
(Love, II, Bequest). By notionality, I mean the human skill to refer to reality with use of notions, that is, concepts that embrace experience, knowledge, supposition, as well as creativity (MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY ONLINE).
The word “God” also may be a dictionary entry. We may try WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY 1828.
Doubt me, my dim companion!
Why, God would be content
With but a fraction of the love
Poured thee without a stint.
(Love, V, Surrender).
Safe in their alabaster chambers, Time and Eternity IV, shows the way to profess belief as a human and not always wise matter. The poem is not about Christianity. The phrase “the members of the resurrection” localizes, regards a specific environment. Christianity was global already in Emily Dickinson’s times, and more, not all people for Christian resurrection have been born even by today, according to the creed.
We may think about ancient Egypt. The people could not have truly believed the mummified shells of human remains might ever regain living functions. Please compare:
The phrase rafter of satin, and roof of stone looks a parallel between impracticable construction and pretended belief.
WORD SENSE AND HUMAN LIVING EXPERIENCE
There is a word in Emily Dickinson’s works taken much too neurophysiologically, and the word is pain, a common noun.
You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me.
(Love II, Bequest).
Borders as above could be only incongruous, for a physical sensation. Even if one has not had experience with pain whatsoever more serious than milk tooth ache, one knows people cannot swap or pass on physical sensations. Early in life, we people learn that our bodies are individual.
English language yet has the phrase to take the pains, for conscious effort. This does not have to bring physical, psychological, or literally any pain at all. Regarding the Antiquity, we may compare the Greek βαρύμοχθος, barymohthos, toilsome.
The ancient βαρύς, barys, could mean heavy, as well as deep, or strong: the term worked for mass, length, and intensity, also to an amplifying effect, as in βαραθρώδης, barathrodes, to mean abysmal with reference to a sea, or precipitous with regard to a way or path; see PERSEUS WORD STUDY TOOL. The phrase βᾰρεῖᾰ προσῳδῖᾰ, bareia prosodia, meant the GRAVE ACCENT, a linguistic feature.
The Bequest clearly refers to Antiquity. The indefinite article directs to a pre-Christian time, when the notion of one heavenly father figure did not have prevalence:
“A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of…”
“Verse-writers studied it carefully and used it cleverly, but never could make up for the want of free movement of hand by any laborious minuteness of tessellation”, wrote John William Mackail about the poetic pattern by MELEAGER OF GADARA. The resource of 1890 adds, “After Justinian, the art practically died out; (…) henceforth, for the five centuries that elapsed till the birth of Provençal and Italian poetry, love lay voiceless, as though entranced and entombed”.
Project Gutenberg has more:
Today, we can read about a fragmentary codex of ancient Greek epigrams that Yale University acquired in 1996. It forwards a story of a poet who, having lived “a pound of years” and worked on some toilsome grammar, was going to Hades — to counsel the dead. Kevin Wilkinson interprets the “pound of years” as about 70 years of life by PALLADAS.
For The Mystery of Pain (Life, XIX), we can try thinking about language as a cognitive device. Emily Dickinson would have been a precursor with the idea, and the pain is not literally any pain.
Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.
There is no pain, physical or psychological, without awareness of its beginning and source, in people capable of writing. If we look to language paradigms, we notice that verbs as the English to ache do not have the Passive. We do not say *we are ached. If we think about a thing quite usual in language study, a conjugation chart, the places for the Passive would be blank.
To take a cognitive implication, we do not have to learn everything by experience. In particular, making a life painful could not make it meaningful.
Emily Dickinson was cognitive about the articles, a and the. The verse I like a look of agony in Real (Time and Eternity, XII) denies fondness: we would have the look of agony, then — the anguish is homely, the poem is about ordinary dying.
I like a look of agony,
Because I know it’s true;
Men do not sham convulsion,
Nor simulate a throe.
The eyes glaze once, and that is death.
Impossible to feign
The beads upon the forehead
By homely anguish strung.
It is cognitively quite challenging, to think about this world without death, to wonder if there would be a person willing to stay on this planet eternally. To expand on the articles, I lost a world (Time and Eternity, XXXVI, Lost) does not pronounce the end of the world.
For the verb to like, we may refer to WEBSTER 1828, PAGE 54. It has senses as to liken, quoted after Shakespeare, or to choose, quoted after Locke.
Cognitive individuality in picturing the world shows in The Sea of Sunset (Nature, XIII). The Yellow Sea is in the Far East. However, the Yellow River, to feed the waters, comes — as geographically — from the West.
Human cognitive mapping is anthropocentric only as to take the mapper point of view. Thinking about every human being in the world does not happen every so often, and it could be even strange, when the focus is on the local fauna or flora.
In the May-Flower (Nature, II), the phrase every human soul refers to everyone in the area.
Next to the robin
In every human soul.
In everyday language also today, a phrase as nobody knows would be likely to tell nobody around knows.
Finally, there might be hardly anything more prosaic than book dusting. Penning verse about the prose of life belongs with genius (pen and paper, let us try). Here, the verses have the poetic person (for whom we might imagine Emily Dickinson herself) reading, when the time for housekeeping comes. Interrupting an interesting read requires some self-denial, hence the surrender.
Online, we can find interpretations to try holding the verses for the author’s affection towards a human being (THE PROWLING BEE), but the poetic person would have to be very overweening, to presume an actual relationship with God.
Why, God would be content
With but a fraction of the love
Poured thee without a stint.
There is no proof Emily Dickinson harbored such a belief. Regarding human relationships and God, there are the poetic pieces Proof (Love, VIII) and Resurrection (Love, XV).
In the Proof, Christian salvation is the hope for two loving persons to meet again. In the Resurrection, the poetic person envisions such a meeting in front of a judging God. God is a being different from human, also spiritually.
In all philosophy and religion, God is an entity of own will and affect, among attributes shared with humans, and nobody takes pleasing God for certain. Fortunately, the first verse in the Surrender has the clue: my dim companion. There is a dim capacity for wings and a fear too dim, in Emily Dickinson’s poetry; there are dim, long-expectant eyes and dim countries; there is dim sounding and a dim border star; dimity in convictions, dimities of blue, and dimming in thought, as well as traits dimmer than a lace — but there are no dim persons or people.
What can get dim with time? — Print. A companion can be a lexicon, handbook, or compendium. The poetic person does not expect own name in a written resource to include a definition for God (content also can be a book interior). My suspect is WEBSTER 1828, DISPLAY PAGE 834, entry God.
As regards pleasing people, a gift of dust could be only incongruous, especially for love and courtship. There never have been such poor people.
Poetry happens to be translated. This means it gets to exist in more than one linguistic reality. Language reality is not always a cognitive outcome, to which the grammatical gender can be proof. It is not only Polish to have the arbitrary grammatical ascription nobody takes sexually: books or bicycles are not girls or boys, and apples do not make a third gender. One does not think about a tuxedo for a French cahier, or about a robe, for a German Zeitschrift, either.
Among other things, I have worked on translating from American English to Polish; let me please focus on that.
With translation of poetry by Emily Dickinson, the grammatical gender of the bee requires a conscious approach. In Polish, the bee is a she. Not to “re-orient” the verses “sexually”, the translator may need to go “up the family tree”, that being the Apidae. In Apotheosis (Love, XVIII), I use the Polish trzmiel, grammatically masculine. In the humorous Bee (Nature, XV) I prefix the biological taxonomy the way for human names, pan pszczoła; Polish does not require capitalization with such fabular phrases, though Mr. Bee would in English. Two Worlds (Nature, XX) have the Polish brzmik, as
His separation from his rose
To him seems misery.
The way is “up the family tree” for translating the bobolink, as well. The local North American name (Nature, VI, A Service of Song, and XXII, A Day) happens to be translated in ways to suggest the Middle or Far East: the Polish ryżojad (“rice-eater”) implies an animal to feed on rice (Polish ryż). In America, bobolinks are known to eat seeds generally, and insects.
The “Linnaeus” classification for the bird comes from Europe. The label, Dolichonyx oryzivorus, is a Greek and Latin mixture to look actually a joke. The morpheme dolicho– comes from the Greek dolichos, meaning “long”; the Latin -nyx yet would add up into “sort of long”. The Latin oryza and -vorus maybe even could make a new order, were there no trouble making ranivora: we can have the plural, omnivora and carnivora or herbivora, as animate life forms do not tend to exaggerate in restricting on feeding styles. Please look up the LATIN SUFFIX -VORUS over Wikipedia.
The label was made after Linnaeus died. The original Regnum Animale does not have it. Fortunately, bobolinks have a large and international family, the Passeriformes. In Polish, the kin is known as wróbel and wróblaste, everyday birds, same as bobolinks are. Many languages have adopted the local and original name, bobolink; please see on WIKISPECIES: BOBOLINK. The same can happen in Polish, which is yet up to publicists rather than translators to regard: a translator refers to language use.
To recur to grammatical gender, death is masculine in English and feminine in Polish, yet arguably without a sex role, even if personified. Translation can simply reflect on personal pronouns, predicates, and declensions (Time and Eternity, XXVII, The Chariot):
Because I could not stop for Death,
He (She) kindly stopped for me…
Existence has taken on different paths, in Polish and American English, since the ancient beginnings. The Polish egzystencja has become to denote day-to-day living, often as part the phrase szara egzystencja, the gloomy, ordinary existence. It is the Polish istnienie, in the singular (genitive istnienia), to collocate with philosophy more (Time and Eternity, XXIV, Afraid?) The plural istnienia (genitive istnień) yet might imply more than one human being. To render the English plural, existences, we may resort to styles of existence, istnienia może i nie jeden styl.
Polish and American differ in classing body parts. American will have fingers and toes. Polish will have specialized limb parts generally, palce, both for the hands and feet, hence dłonie in my translation of Dying (Time and Eternity, XXV).
Finally, the Polish language reality today is far more prescriptive than that for American English. In year 1996, the POLISH LANGUAGE COUNCIL was formed, to be the official LANGUAGE REGULATING ORGAN for Polish. The Council decided the infinitive „wziąść” (English to take) was erroneous. The verb “to take” occurs in Emily Dickinson’s poetry.
The Council announced the infinitive should be “wziąć”. An argument by professor JAN MIODEK invoked a “Proto-Slavic” form, “vzęti”. The “Proto-Slavic” is very speculative, owing to [ę]. There is a quote for the first Polish sentence in writing, Daj, acz ja pobruszę, a ty poczywaj. It is yet a modern rendition of the Old Polish Day ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai. Wikimedia show THE ORIGINAL SOURCE.
The “Proto-Slavic” [ę] would have had to occur in some “proto-times”, disappear from all Slavic languages after, and re-appear in Polish standard language use some time around the Renaissance.
Neither Russian, nor Czech, or Slovak languages have [ą] or [ę]. There is some occurrence in Lithuanian. Poland and Lithuania yet once made the POLISH-LITHUANIAN KINGDOM, and the linguistic feature might have been transferred. In 1364, the JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERISTY was founded; it accepted — also French influences.
The Polish “wziąść” was the form of preference by Mickiewicz, Słowacki, and other prominent Polish authors, at the time Emily Dickinson wrote, as well as later. “Wziąć”, the form recommended by the Council today, was considered phonotactically inept.
The matter was not in fashion or patterning after other languages. Natural making of Polish speech sounds developed a process we might call a passive velarity. It does not pertain with [ą] only, but also with the speech sound [j], as in the English year. Both [ą] and [j] rely on the back of the tongue, and passively involve the velum, the soft palate.
Polish sounds [ś] and [ć] involve the velum too. Comparing word shapes as piąć, giąć, siąść, przejść, the back of the tongue evidently needs the time frame of two speech sounds, to manage the phonological context without nasalization, hence the phonotactic favor for “wziąść”, also by people in favor of belles lettres: ś is not a difficult sound, to speakers of Polish. Many words have it, as światło, light.
Emily Dickinson’s awareness of language does not allow insinuations of phonological demerit, hence the form “wziąść” in Love’s Baptism. The Polish velarity would be passive, therefore in Our Share of Night (Life, II) the translation naturally has the Polish powziąć — the word stress is on the first syllable, powziąć.
People curious about phonemics, whether for language learning or poetry, may care to view my charts on irregular verbs in American.
- GRAMMAR WEB LOG: IRREGULAR VERBS, HIGH AND LOW VOWEL QUALITIES
- GRAMMAR WEB LOG: IRREGULAR VERBS, BACK AND FRONT VOWEL QUALITIES
PERSONALITY AND WRITING
I have read quite a few analyses about writers. The analyses differed as their authors did, and commentator’s own activity usually influenced his or her picture of a linguistically creative person. People who were not authors clearly allowed more speculation on mentality and comport. Overall, rumor or opinion, even madness or drug use have been ascribed to writing: quite powerful odiums.
I am a linguist and a pragmatic. To me, linguistic activity is a normal and ordinary matter; also my bread, per file or word count in translation. It obviously does not need phenomena supernatural or aberrating from norm. Simply to say it, some like to bake bread, some — to make horseshoes, and some like to wield words.
On the side of simple facts, Emily Dickinson’s writing is sober. Her imagery is lexical, and the style does not have the prolixity, repetitive phonemics, or anaphora misuse we may get with persons who are mentally unstable or substance-dependent. Her writing has awareness of the poetic person as a device, and employs no linguistic naivete.
Regarding her recluse habits, there is a state of focus that solitude and silence encourage. It is especially desirable for language work; absorption with language matter can bring natural, emotional and intellectual rewards. As eremite monks are not suspected, authors do not purpose to offend the world, as well. Solitude does not have to mean loneliness, and it cannot be a stand beyond people, either:
I reason that in heaven
Somehow, it will be even,
Some new equation given;
But what of that?
(Time and Eternity, XXIII, I Reason, Earth Is Short). Have pleasure: Emily Dickinson’s gift was the ability to join linguistic prowess with a simple allure of speech, to which we can return despite Johnson’s print.