Marcia, your quoting of the poem, specifically line 4, brings up something
that has been a mystery to me. My mom loved to qoute the poem to me when I
was a kid, and it was the way you quoted it, so that's the way I want to see
it. But in current editions of her Complete Poems (and also the "Academy of
American Poets" web site: www.poets.org ) have it as:
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Then there's a pair of us?
Don't tell! they'd advertise--you know!
How dreary--to be--Somebody!
How public--like a Frog--
To tell one's name--the livelong June--
To an admiring Bog!
...which, I think, sounds weird. I did, however, buy a one-volume reprint
of the first few books of her poems recently, maybe from the 1890s; and the
version of the poem in there has the "banish us" phrase in it. Do you, or
anyone else, know what's going on? Like was it some editor changed it? And
if that, which version of line 4 is the real thing? I personally hope that
the "banish us" version is the more accurate one because it makes more
sense, to me at least.
From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2002 11:42 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Nonexistent scholarship by nobody
Quoting Meyer Robert K GS-9 99 CES/CECT <[log in to unmask]>:
> Although "Nobody" probably knew of Longfellow, "Nobody" died in 1886,
> two years before TS Eliot's birth. Unless one believes in prophecy or
> time-travel, Emily "I'm Nobody" Dickinson could not know anything
> about Eliot.
But, Robert, Emily was willing to share the name --
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there 's a pair of us---don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!