Mute – thy Coronation —
Meek – my Vive le roi,
Fold a tiny courtier
In thine ermine, Sir,
There to rest revering
Till the pageant by,
I can murmur broken,
Master, It was I —
F133 (1860) J151
This poem reflects the meek worshipful voice of the Dickinson who wrote the Master letters and, a year later, refers to herself as her master's "little Hound" and "little Spaniel" in F237 and F251. Here she is a quiet little thing enjoying the preeminence of her beloved. Her own cheers, Long live the King, are "Meek" as if she didn't want to draw attention to herself. She is completely silent for the "Coronation". She refers to herself as a "tiny courtier" and requests that Master just fold her into his royal ermine somewhere. When all the pageantry is over she can tell him who she is. Among the most pathetic parts of the poem is that when she tells him it will be a "murmur" and she will be "broken".
|Can't you just imagine a tiny poet|
tucked into this ermine robe?
Talk about a mood killer! If Master is about to receive some great honor, or if he has suddenly earned some fame, this little poem would set him back. Who would want such a self-pitying little courtier?
It should be noted, however, that this was a poem written in private and probably not with publication or an audience intended. If we all had our pity-party poems published we would be a humbler people.
On the positive side, I rather like the image of a miniature courtier hiding in the ermine, and I like the way the "Mute", "Meek", and "Fold" begin the first three lines with an effect quite opposite to the pathos of the words. One suspects the poet doth protest too much. It is the "broken" that rather stops the poem cold for me.