576Dickinson's biography: LADY IN WHITE
- Mar 7, 2011http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EmilyDickinsonPoet/message/103
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
the SAMUEL BOWLES LETTER!
Some who claim to be Dickinson scholars are NOT, and are students
of Dickinson without knowing the canon of works by and about
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
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?...."
We are still on square one: love :)
MFA, U-Mass, Amherst
Independent Scholar, Modern Language Association
Professor of world literature classics
Author, EMILY DICKINSON'S SECRET LOVE: Mystery "Master" Behind Poems,
230 pages, 1998.
"There is magic in the web" Shakespeare (Othello, Act 3, Scene 4)