Back in March of this year, I wrote about a mysterious letter “E” that appears before “It sifts from Leaden Sieves” in my 1998 Franklin edition of The Poems of Emily Dickinson – you can read about that HERE.
Now, I’m looking into a second mystery: I just realized that “I would distil a cup” appears in my 1960 Johnson edition of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (J-16), but I can’t find it anywhere in my Franklin edition. What gives?
Here’s the the poem:
By Emily Dickinson:
I would distil a cup,
And bear to all my friends,
Drinking to her no more astir,
By beck, or burn, or moor!
I checked the Emily Dickinson Archive to see if that might shed some light on the mystery, but it indicated that “I would distil a cup” – which Emily had included in a letter to Samual Bowler and Mary Bowles – appeared only in the Johnson edition. I searched the words “distil,” “beck,” and “astir,” and all three queries yielded the same information. I thought, perhaps, that the lines (or similar lines) from “I would distil a cup” would appear embedded in some other poem by Dickinson in the Franklin edition. Alas, no. “I would distil a cup” seems to have vanished with Franklin’s edition of the Belle of Amherst’s poetry.
Below: The results when I searched the word "beck" in the Emily Dickinson Archive turned up one entry for "I would distil a cup":
Do any Dickinson scholars out there have any info on this mystery – as to why “I would distil a cup” does not appear in the Franklin edition of The Poems of Emily Dickinson?