Emily Dickinson – Selected Poems – Series Two


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Note: Of the 1,775 poems Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) wrote, only a very few were published during her lifetime. Some never had titles – only numbers. The selected edited versions below were first published in 1910. They are organized into four themes: Life, Love, Nature, and Time and Eternity.


Series Two

Edited by two of her friends, Mabel Loomis Todd and T. W. Higginson.


I. LIFE.

I.

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!

VI. HOPE.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

XX.

A thought went up my mind to-day
That I have had before,
But did not finish, – some way back,
I could not fix the year,

Nor where it went, nor why it came
The second time to me,
Nor definitely what it was,
Have I the art to say.

But somewhere in my soul, I know
I've met the thing before;
It just reminded me – 't was all –
And came my way no more.

XXIX. MY COUNTRY'S WARDROBE.

My country need not change her gown,
Her triple suit as sweet
As when 't was cut at Lexington,
And first pronounced "a fit."

Great Britain disapproves "the stars";
Disparagement discreet, –
There's something in their attitude
That taunts her bayonet.



II. LOVE.

II.

I have no life but this,
To lead it here;
Nor any death, but lest
Dispelled from there;

Nor tie to earths to come,
Nor action new,
Except through this extent,
The realm of you.

III.

Your riches taught me poverty.
Myself a millionnaire
In little wealths, – as girls could boast, –
Till broad as Buenos Ayre,

You drifted your dominions
A different Peru;
And I esteemed all poverty,
For life's estate with you.

Of mines I little know, myself,
But just the names of gems, –
The colors of the commonest;
And scarce of diadems

So much that, did I meet the queen,
Her glory I should know:
But this must be a different wealth,
To miss it beggars so.

I'm sure 't is India all day
To those who look on you
Without a stint, without a blame, –
Might I but be the Jew!

I'm sure it is Golconda,
Beyond my power to deem, –
To have a smile for mine each day,
How better than a gem!

At least, it solaces to know
That there exists a gold,
Although I prove it just in time
Its distance to behold!

It's far, far treasure to surmise,
And estimate the pearl
That slipped my simple fingers through
While just a girl at school!

XV. THE LOST JEWEL.

I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep.
The day was warm, and winds were prosy;
I said: "'T will keep."

I woke and chid my honest fingers, –
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.




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