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Poems by Emily Dickinson, Third Series   By: (1830-1886)

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POEMS

by EMILY DICKINSON

Third Series

Edited by

MABEL LOOMIS TODD

It's all I have to bring to day, This, and my heart beside, This, and my heart, and all the fields, And all the meadows wide. Be sure you count, should I forget, Some one the sum could tell, This, and my heart, and all the bees Which in the clover dwell.

PREFACE.

The intellectual activity of Emily Dickinson was so great that a large and characteristic choice is still possible among her literary material, and this third volume of her verses is put forth in response to the repeated wish of the admirers of her peculiar genius. Much of Emily Dickinson's prose was rhythmic, even rhymed, though frequently not set apart in lines.

Also many verses, written as such, were sent to friends in letters; these were published in 1894, in the volumes of her Letters . It has not been necessary, however, to include them in this Series, and all have been omitted, except three or four exceptionally strong ones, as "A Book," and "With Flowers."

There is internal evidence that many of the poems were simply spontaneous flashes of insight, apparently unrelated to outward circumstance. Others, however, had an obvious personal origin; for example, the verses "I had a Guinea golden," which seem to have been sent to some friend travelling in Europe, as a dainty reminder of letter writing delinquencies. The surroundings in which any of Emily Dickinson's verses are known to have been written usually serve to explain them clearly; but in general the present volume is full of thoughts needing no interpretation to those who apprehend this scintillating spirit.

M. L. T.

AMHERST, October , 1896.

I. LIFE.

POEMS.

I.

REAL RICHES.

'T is little I could care for pearls Who own the ample sea; Or brooches, when the Emperor With rubies pelteth me;

Or gold, who am the Prince of Mines; Or diamonds, when I see A diadem to fit a dome Continual crowning me.

II.

SUPERIORITY TO FATE.

Superiority to fate Is difficult to learn. 'T is not conferred by any, But possible to earn

A pittance at a time, Until, to her surprise, The soul with strict economy Subsists till Paradise.

III.

HOPE.

Hope is a subtle glutton; He feeds upon the fair; And yet, inspected closely, What abstinence is there!

His is the halcyon table That never seats but one, And whatsoever is consumed The same amounts remain.

IV.

FORBIDDEN FRUIT.

I.

Forbidden fruit a flavor has That lawful orchards mocks; How luscious lies the pea within The pod that Duty locks!

V.

FORBIDDEN FRUIT.

II.

Heaven is what I cannot reach! The apple on the tree, Provided it do hopeless hang, That 'heaven' is, to me.

The color on the cruising cloud, The interdicted ground Behind the hill, the house behind, There Paradise is found!

VI.

A WORD.

A word is dead When it is said, Some say. I say it just Begins to live That day.

VII.

To venerate the simple days Which lead the seasons by, Needs but to remember That from you or me They may take the trifle Termed mortality!

To invest existence with a stately air, Needs but to remember That the acorn there Is the egg of forests For the upper air!

VIII.

LIFE'S TRADES.

It's such a little thing to weep, So short a thing to sigh; And yet by trades the size of these We men and women die!

IX.

Drowning is not so pitiful As the attempt to rise. Three times, 't is said, a sinking man Comes up to face the skies, And then declines forever To that abhorred abode Where hope and he part company, For he is grasped of God. The Maker's cordial visage, However good to see, Is shunned, we must admit it, Like an adversity.

X.

How still the bells in steeples stand, Till, swollen with the sky, They leap upon their silver feet In frantic melody!

XI.

If the foolish call them 'flowers,' Need the wiser tell? If the savans 'classify' them, It is just as well!

Those who read the Revelations Must not criticise Those who read the same edition With beclouded eyes!

Could we stand with that old Moses Canaan denied, Scan, like him, the stately landscape On the other side,

Doubtless we should deem superfluous Many sciences Not pursued by learnèd angels In scholastic skies!

Low amid that glad Belles lettres Grant that we may stand, Stars, amid profound Galaxies, At that grand 'Right hand'!

XII... Continue reading book >>




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