Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Emily Dickinson, fully Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

American Poet

"A great Hope fell. You heard no noise. The Ruin was within."

"All but Death, can be Adjusted."

"How do most people live without any thoughts?"

"I dwell in possibilities."

"If I can stop one Heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain."

"Prayer is the little implement through which men reach where Presence – is denied them."

"Genius lies in affection, not intellect."

"Who has not found the heaven below will fail of it above. God’s residence is next to mine, His furniture is love."

"Luck is not chance – it’s toil – fortune’s expensive smile is earned."

"The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."

"The past is not a package one can lay away."

"If I can stop one heart from breaking I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one Life the Aching Or cool one pain Or help one fainting Robin Unto his nest again I shall not live in vain."

"They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse."

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all. "

"Forever is composed of nows. "

"A wounded deer leaps the highest. "

"It is better to be the hammer than the anvil. "

"Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes. "

"My friends are my estate. "

"Saying nothing... sometimes says the most. "

"Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough. "

"The brain is wider than the sky."

"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. "

"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those we have personality and emotion know what it means to want to escape from these things."

"Beauty is not caused. It is. "

"Silence is all we dread. There's Ransom in a Voice - but Silence is Infinity. "

"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet. "

"Success is counted sweetest by those who ne'er succeed. "

"To possess, is past the instant we achieve the joy - immortality contented were anomaly."

"The Soul selects her own society - then - shuts the door - to her divine majority - present no more. "

""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. "

""Heaven"—is what I cannot reach! The Apple on the Tree— Provided it do hopeless—hang— That—"He aven" is—to Me! The Color, on the Cruising Cloud— The interdicted Land— Behind the Hill—the House behind— There—Paradise—is found! Her teasing Purples—Afternoons— The credulous—decoy— Enamored—of the Conjuror— That spurned us—Yesterday! "

""I want"—it pleaded—All its life— I want—was chief it said When Skill entreated it—the last— And when so newly dead— I could not deem it late—to hear That single—steadfast sigh— The lips had placed as with a "Please" Toward Eternity— "

""Heaven" has different Signs—to me— Sometimes, I think that Noon Is but a symbol of the Place— And when again, at Dawn, A mighty look runs round the World And settles in the Hills— An Awe if it should be like that Upon the Ignorance steals— The Orchard, when the Sun is on— The Triumph of the Birds When they together Victory make— Some Carnivals of Clouds— The Rapture of a finished Day— Returning to the West— All these—remind us of the place That Men call "paradise"— Itself be fairer—we suppose— But how Ourself, shall be Adorned, for a Superior Grace— Not yet, our eyes can see— "

"A little road not made of man, Enabled of the eye, Accessible to thill of bee, Or cart of butterfly. If town it have, beyond itself, 'T is that I cannot say; I only sigh,--no vehicle Bears me along that way. "

"A Cloud withdrew from the Sky Superior Glory be But that Cloud and its Auxiliaries Are forever lost to me Had I but further scanned Had I secured the Glow In an Hermetic Memory It had availed me now. Never to pass the Angel With a glance and a Bow Till I am firm in Heaven Is my intention now."

"A nearness to Tremendousness— An Agony procures— Affliction ranges Boundlessness— Vicinity to Laws Contentment's quiet Suburb— Affliction cannot stay In Acres—Its Location Is Illocality— "

"A Route of Evanescence With a revolving Wheel-- A Resonance of Emerald-- A Rush of Cochineal-- And every Blossom on the Bush Adjusts its tumbled Head-- The mail from Tunis, probably, An easy Morning's Ride-- "

"A precious—mouldering pleasure—'tis— To meet an Antique Book— In just the Dress his Century wore— A privilege—I think— His venerable Hand to take— And warming in our own— A passage back—or two—to make— To Times when he—was young— His quaint opinions—to inspect— His thought to ascertain On Themes concern our mutual mind— The Literature of Man— What interested Scholars—most— What Competitions ran— When Plato—was a Certainty— And Sophocles—a Man— When Sappho—was a living Girl— And Beatrice wore The Gown that Dante—deified— Facts Centuries before He traverses—familiar— As One should come to Town— And tell you all your Dreams—were true— He lived—where Dreams were born— His presence is Enchantment— You beg him not to go— Old Volume shake their Vellum Heads And tantalize—just so— "

"A Secret told— Ceases to be a Secret—then— A Secret—kept— That—can appal but One— Better of it—continual be afraid— Than it— And Whom you told it to—beside— "

"A Solemn thing within the Soul To feel itself get ripe— And golden hang—while farther up— The Maker's Ladders stop— And in the Orchard far below— You hear a Being—drop— A Wonderful—to feel the Sun Still toiling at the Cheek You thought was finished— Cool of eye, and critical of Work— He shifts the stem—a little— To give your Core—a look— But solemnest—to know Your chance in Harvest moves A little nearer—Every Sun The Single—to some lives. "

"A Shade upon the mind there passes As when on Noon A Cloud the mighty Sun encloses Remembering That some there be too numb to notice Oh God Why give if Thou must take away The Loved? "

"A Prison gets to be a friend— Between its Ponderous face And Ours—a Kinsmanship express— And in its narrow Eyes— We come to look with gratitude For the appointed Beam It deal us—stated as our food— And hungered for—the same— We learn to know the Planks— That answer to Our feet— So miserable a sound—at first— Nor ever now—so sweet— As plashing in the Pools— When Memory was a Boy— But a Demurer Circuit— A Geometric Joy— The Posture of the Key That interrupt the Day To Our Endeavor—Not so real The Check of Liberty— As this Phantasm Steel— Whose features—Day and Night— Are present to us—as Our Own— And as escapeless—quite— The narrow Round—the Stint— The slow exchange of Hope— For something passiver—Content Too steep for lookinp up— The Liberty we knew Avoided—like a Dream— Too wide for any Night but Heaven— If That—indeed—redeem— "

"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. Emily Dickinson"

"Absence disembodies—so does Death Hiding individuals from the Earth Superposition helps, as well as love— Tenderness decreases as we prove— "

"Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine, Unwind the solemn twine, and tie my Valentine! Oh the Earth was made for lovers, for damsel, and hopeless swain, For sighing, and gentle whispering, and unity made of twain. All things do go a courting, in earth, or sea, or air, God hath made nothing single but thee in His world so fair! The bride, and then the bridegroom, the two, and then the one, Adam, and Eve, his consort, the moon, and then the sun; The life doth prove the precept, who obey shall happy be, Who will not serve the sovereign, be hanged on fatal tree. The high do seek the lowly, the great do seek the small, None cannot find who seeketh, on this terrestrial ball; The bee doth court the flower, the flower his suit receives, And they make merry wedding, whose guests are hundred leaves; The wind doth woo the branches, the branches they are won, And the father fond demandeth the maiden for his son. The storm doth walk the seashore humming a mournful tune, The wave with eye so pensive, looketh to see the moon, Their spirits meet together, they make their solemn vows, No more he singeth mournful, her sadness she doth lose. The worm doth woo the mortal, death claims a living bride, Night unto day is married, morn unto eventide; Earth is a merry damsel, and heaven a knight so true, And Earth is quite coquettish, and beseemeth in vain to sue. Now to the application, to the reading of the roll, To bringing thee to justice, and marshalling thy soul: Thou art a human solo, a being cold, and lone, Wilt have no kind companion, thou reap'st what thou hast sown. Hast never silent hours, and minutes all too long, And a deal of sad reflection, and wailing instead of song? There's Sarah, and Eliza, and Emeline so fair, And Harriet, and Susan, and she with curling hair! Thine eyes are sadly blinded, but yet thou mayest see Six true, and comely maidens sitting upon the tree; Approach that tree with caution, then up it boldly climb, And seize the one thou lovest, nor care for space, or time! Then bear her to the greenwood, and build for her a bower, And give her what she asketh, jewel, or bird, or flower— And bring the fife, and trumpet, and beat upon the drum— And bid the world Goodmorrow, and go to glory home! "

"Beauty—be not caused—It Is— Chase it, and it ceases— Chase it not, and it abides— Overtake the Creases In the Meadow—when the Wind Runs his fingers thro' it— Deity will see to it That You never do it— "

"Behind Me—dips Eternity— Before Me—Immortality— Myself—the Term between— Death but the Drift of Eastern Gray, Dissolving into Dawn away, Before the West begin— 'Tis Kingdoms—afterward—they say— In perfect—pauseless Monarchy— Whose Prince—is Son of None— Himself—His Dateless Dynasty— Himself—Himself diversify— In Duplicate divine— 'Tis Miracle before Me—then— 'Tis Miracle behind—between— A Crescent in the Sea— With Midnight to the North of Her— And Midnight to the South of Her— And Maelstrom—in the Sky—"

"Be Mine the Doom— Sufficient Fame— To perish in Her Hand! "

"Because I could not stop for Death-- He kindly stopped for me-- The Carriage held but just Ourselves-- And Immortality. We slowly drove--He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility-- We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess--in the Ring-- We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain-- We passed the Setting Sun-- Or rather--He passed us-- The Dews drew quivering and chill-- For only Gossamer, my Gown-- My Tippet--only Tulle-- We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground-- The Roof was scarcely visible-- The Cornice--in the Ground-- Since then--'tis Centuries--and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity-- "