This paper is the third report of our research into Emily Dickinson's variant readings. In the first report, focusing on the nearly 1,600 suggested changes printed in Poems, we considered their forms and possible intentions which the poet might have had in writing the suggested changes into her fair copies.
In the second report, focusing on the suggested changes of words, we analysed the forms and meanings of the alternative words and showed the intentions with which Dickinson might have tried to change those words.
In the present study, we examined the suggested changes of lines in the same way. The results are as follows:
1. Of the 1,775 poems in the Poems, about 150 poems have alternative lines, and the number of suggested changes is about 180.
2. Those alternative lines are given in the forms of change of words, change of word order, addition or elimination of words, and change of sentence constructions; some suggested lines consist of completely different words, images or meanings.
3. Dickinson's intentions to rewrite a whole line are to give a proper rhythm or rhyme, to improve unnatural or logically contradicted words and expressions, to make the meanings of words or sentences clearer or easier to understand, and to replace too simple and straight an expression with a metaphor.
4. Some of the suggested lines can be attritubed to the changes in Dickinson's psychology, attitude to people, and belief or faith. They seem to suggest that, when Dickinson attempted to revise her poems, she tended to soften her severe attitudes which she had had when she first wrote the poems.
5. Some of the suggested lines with completely different words, expressions or meanings cannot be explained except by saying that the suggested words or images were the poet's favorite ones. But it is not impossible to guess the poet's intentions if we make a close comparative examination into both the original and suggested lines.