withheld from publication by her sister Laxinia. Edited by her niece. Little, brown & Co. 12mo. xx + 208 pp. $2.50., and . Poston:
THE verbal genius of Emily Dickinson was concerned with the single, word rather than the whole music. Her rhythms present small variety. On page 13 of the Further Poems, for instance, the rhythms follow syllable for syllable those of the famous ‘There is no frigate like a book. Her rhymes are often so false that, had she not impelled every word with irresistible vigor, we should notice their falsity. Furthermore, her figures are frequently, and by evident choice, fashioned from the most commonplace material, wrenched out of prose into high poetry. Shall we not find here the hint of her idiom, which, imitated, reveals only weakness in the imitator, yet her work is gradually being recognized as the most interesting poetry America has produced?
The single word as she wrote it received the impact of her entire personality, a personality in which the power of concentration was instinctively developed beyond Occidental practice. Playing with words ourselves, we might remark that her phrases and her ideas were more nearly synonymous than those of most poets; that by rapt attention she managed her utterance, leaving less gulf between conception and execution than others must sorrowfully admit. One thought she passionately held to: that the things of earth, however microscopic, are essential parts of a design too vast for contemplation, yet dependent on tlie smallest tendril for its fulfillment. She is content, therefore, to refer to the great her absorption in the little, finding her universe at the end of the microscope no less than at that of the telescope; indeed, losing the sense of measured space in both as much as mortal can. So it is that the immediate blossom and the immediate won! receive her entire care and become one, the. subject and its expression, beyond reach of cavil.
These Further Poems continue her speech in its proper accent and bring back to her readers the joy of first meetings. The poems, ‘ beauty is not caused,’ ‘I reckon when I count at all.’ ‘Doom is the House Without the Door.’ ‘I dwell in Possibility,’ ‘It’s easy to invent a life.’ ‘The sweetest heresy received,’ ‘We pray to Heaven.’ ‘It always felt to me a wrong,’ and perhaps a dozen others, rank with her finest work, No other recent book can be so important, to American literature.
If we were to question any detail of this edition, we might ask why poor Lavinia Dickinson is implicitly so scolded on the title-page: ‘Further Poems of Emily Dickinson, withheld from publication by her sister Lavinia.’ Is it positive that the packet, of poems was secreted by Lavinia? And, if so, was the elder sister the only one who ‘withheld ? The poem on page 43, ‘I never feft at home below,’ was shown to me eight years ago (not by the editor of the present volume), with the remark that it had been thought too bold to publish. Perhaps we may hope, as times enlarge, for yet further discoveries.