Newton likely introduced her to the writings of William Wordsworth , and his gift to her of Ralph Waldo Emerson 's first book of collected poems had a liberating effect. She wrote later that he, "whose name my Father's Law Student taught me, has touched the secret Spring".  Newton held her in high regard, believing in and recognizing her as a poet. When he was dying of tuberculosis , he wrote to her, saying that he would like to live until she achieved the greatness he foresaw.  Biographers believe that Dickinson's statement of 1862—"When a little Girl, I had a friend, who taught me Immortality – but venturing too near, himself – he never returned"—refers to Newton. 
David Preest read Classics at Oxford University, and since retiring from teaching Classics he has had two translations of medieval Latin texts published: William of Malmesbury’s The Deeds of the Bishops of England and Thomas Walsingham’s Chronica Maiora , the second of which won an Outstanding Academic Title award from the USA journal Choice . Alongside Classics, he has pursued his interest in Emily Dickinson, recently visiting her house in Amherst, and reading all the books he could find which would help with the compilation of these notes.
On the very first page, the first flower pressed by the girl Emily, was the Jasminum or jasmine, the tropical flower that would come to mean passion to her as a woman. This “belle of Amherst,” as she once imagined herself, this poet who liked to think that she saw “New Englandly,” was, though Puritan in her disciplined upbringing, profoundly attracted to the foreign and especially to the semitropical or tropical climes that she read about in Harper’s and the Atlantic Monthly-Santo Domingo, Brazil, Potosi, Zanzibar, Italy… Domesticating the jasmine in the cold climate of New England, writing sensuous lyrics about forbidden love in spare meters, Dickinson followed a paradoxical pattern that related poet to gardener in one adventurous pursuit. Just as her fondness for buttercups, clover, anemones, and gentians spoke of an attraction to the simple and commonplace, her taste for strange exotic blooms is that of one drawn to the unknown, the uncommon, the aesthetically venturesome.