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  • billarnoldfla
    Jan 2, 2013

      Hi, Dickinsonians.

      In her *Master* letter of late 1861, why did Emily Dickinson write,
      "What would you do with me if I came 'in white?'" And why did she
      put in quotes "in white"? [ see quoted letter, below ]

      Surely she understood the groom stands at the altar and behind him
      HIS BRIDE approaches "in white"! Surely, this explains why she sent
      the *wife* in *white* poem embedded in a letter to SAMUEL BOWLES!
      SURELY, the *Master* of the Master letter and the *white wife* letter
      to Samuel Bowles in the SAME YEAR and about the SAME BIOGRAPHICAL
      quandry for her EXPLAINS the poem which has been SEPARATED from

      Some who claim to be Dickinson scholars are NOT, and are students
      of Dickinson without knowing the canon of works by and about
      Emily Dickinson.

      Do not let some who pretend to be Dickinson scholars fool you, as
      surely they will try! You see, they do not read Emily Dickinson's writing.

      Because they cannot make their bizarre interpretations make sense
      to you--with her biography. So, they must pretend the letters to
      Samuel Bowles do not exist. Do you notice in their rave of stories
      about Dickinson, they ignore the *Master* poems? They ignore
      the *Master* letters? They ignore the letters WRITTEN BY DICKINSON
      which clearly IDENTIFY Samuel Bowles as the *Master*!

      They pretend that such biographical knowledge will not illuminate
      her writings, both her letters and her poems, when you as casual
      readers WANT TO KNOW. Inquiring minds want to know!

      They must fabricate a new reality, a cloud-interpretation paradigm.

      You all know what that is, don't you? In graduate school, if you do
      not have anything meaningful to say for your Ph.D. in English, you
      throw a dart at a famous authors dartboard and do cloud-interpretation
      of some poet's poetry or some novelist's fiction. But now you all know
      such nonsense is meaningless, and it has no basis in an author's life
      and flies in the face of the biography.

      Note in Poem 226 (Johnson) she feared Samuel Bowles would die at
      "Sea." The poem is absolutely biography inasmuch as it is encased
      within Letter 240 to Samuel Bowles, her "Master." The poem only
      exists as part of a letter to Samuel Bowles, written in 1862 as he
      was ready to travel across the "Sea Blue." Therein, she wrote to her
      "Master:" "If I amazed your kindness--My Love is my only
      apology...Would you--ask less for your *Queen*--Mr Bowles?"

      Now, clearly she identifies herself as Sam's "Queen" and
      therefore he is the "King" and "Master." And no doubt you can
      understand all her "wife" and "Queen" poems fit the scenario she
      lived in with Samuel Bowles--in her letters--and her biography.
      And, by the way, Dickinson scholars also have not forgetten
      Samuel Bowles called her "his Queen Recluse"!

      Remember this: Emily Dickinson called herself *in writing*
      "your Queen" to her "Master" Samuel Bowles! Do not doubt
      Letter 240!

      Emily Dickinson wrote "your Queen" to "Master" Samuel Bowles!

      Now, look at Letter 252, also written to persuade Samuel
      Bowles to visit her in Amherst before travelling abroad for six
      long months. She wrote therein: "When you come to Amherst, please
      God it *were Today* [sic! her own *italics*]. History records Samuel
      Bowles did, in fact, visit her "BEFORE" he went across the
      "Sea Blue." "PLEASE GOD IT *WERE TODAY*!!!!!!! Doesn't that sound
      like a woman in need to see her own *Master* and not tomorrow
      but "TODAY"??????? Why else call him Plantagenet, the King to
      Eleanor of Aquitaine the Queen of France who became the Queen
      of the King of England? Why would Emily Dickinson, an expert
      in historical literary allusions, refer to English history if she did
      not want you to LOOK IT UP and understand her REFERENTS in
      classical western literature and biographical history?

      Is all this so confusing that even her niece Madame Bianchi wrote
      of this secret love affair that Emily Dickinson had with a married
      man who broke her heart and inspired more than half of her total
      poetry output as *Secret Love* poems in the European troubadour
      tradition? And why else would Emily Dickinson refer to the *wife*
      and *Queen* of England famous for encouraging Courtly Love Poetry?
      And, mind you all, that Queen was granddaughter of Duke William IX
      also known as *The Troubadour* in European literary history of poets
      [ see page 91 of my book ].

      Now, you KNOW why she wrote HIM as Sir and Sire and Master and
      King and Plantagenet: because He was a He and NOT a she!

      So, now we jump back a few months, while Samuel Bowles was away
      in NEW YORK state, outside of New England, and Emily Dickinson was
      literally begging him to visit her in Amherst, and we discover in her
      writings that state of her mind and thoughts, her love and pain, her
      need and desire, in her poetic letter to her "Master," Letter 233 (Johnson):


      If you saw a bullet hit a Bird--and he told you he
      was'nt shot--you might weep at his courtesy, but you would certainly
      doubt his word.

      One drop more from the gash that stains your Daisy's
      bosom--then would you *believe*? Thomas' faith in Anatomy, was
      stronger than his faith in faith. God made me--Sir--Master--I
      didn't be--myself...He built the heart in me...I heard of a thing
      called 'Redemption'...You remember I asked you for it--you gave me
      something else...I knew you had altered me...I am older--tonight,
      Master--but the love is the same--so are the moon and the crescent.
      If it had been God's will that I might breathe where you
      breathed--and find the place--myself--at night...if I wish with a
      might I cannot repress--that mine were the Queen's place--the love of
      the Plantagenet is my only apology...Have you the Heart in your
      breast--Sir--is it set like mine--a little to the left--has it
      misgiving--if it wake in the night....

      These things are reverent--holy, Sir...You say I do not tell
      you all--Daisy confessed--and denied not.

      Vesuvius dont talk--Etna--dont--Thy--one of them...and
      Pompeii heard it, and hid forever--She couldn't look the world in the
      face, afterward--I suppose--Bashful Pompeii! "Tell you of the
      want"--you know what a leech is, dont you--and remember that Daisy's
      arm is small--and you have felt the horizon hav'nt you--and did the
      sea--never come so close as to make you dance?

      I dont know what you can do for it--thank you--Master--but
      if I had the Beard on my cheek--like you--and you--had Daisy's
      petals--and you cared so for me--what would become of you? Could you
      forget me...Could'nt Carlo, and you and I walk in the meadows an
      hour--and nobody care but the Bobolink...I used to think when I
      died--I could see you--so I died as fast as I could--but the
      "Corporation" are going Heaven too so Eternity wont be
      sequestered--now Say I may wait for you--say I need go with no
      stranger to the to me--untried country...I waited a long
      time--Master--but I can wait more--wait till my hazel hair is
      dappled--and you carry the cane...What would you do with me if I came
      'in white?' Have you the little chest to put the Alive--in?

      I want to see you more--Sir--than all I wish for in this
      world--and the wish--altered a little--will be my only one--for the

      Could you come to New England--this summer--could--would you
      come to Amherst--Would you like to come--Master?

      Would it do harm--yet we both fear God--Would Daisy
      disappoint you--no--she would'nt--Sir--it were comfort forever--just
      to look in your face, while you looked in mine--then I could play in
      the woods till Dark--till you take me where Sundown cannot find
      us--and the true keep coming--till the town is full, Will you tell me
      if you will?...."

      --Emily Dickinson

      We are still on square one: love :)

      Bill Arnold

      Bill Arnold
      MFA, U-Mass, Amherst
      Dickinson Scholar
      Independent Scholar
      Independent Scholar, Modern Language Association
      Professor of world literature classics
      Author, EMILY DICKINSON'S SECRET LOVE: Mystery "Master" Behind Poems,
      230 pages, 1998.
      ISBN 1-892582-00-7

      "There is magic in the web" Shakespeare (Othello, Act 3, Scene 4)