Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Emily Dickinson, fully Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

American Poet

"I imagine, therefore I belong and am free."

"I measure every Grief I meet with narrow, probing, Eyes; I wonder if It weighs like Mine, or has an Easier size. I wonder if They bore it long, or did it just begin? I could not tell the Date of Mine, it feels so old a pain. I wonder if it hurts to live, and if They have to try, and whether, could They choose between, it would not be, to die. I note that Some -- gone patient long -- At length, renew their smile. An imitation of a Light that has so little Oil. I wonder if when Years have piled, some Thousands -- on the Harm of early hurt -- if such a lapse could give them any Balm; or would they go on aching still through Centuries above, enlightened to a larger Pain by Contrast with the Love. The Grieved are many, I am told; the reason deeper lies, -- Death is but one and comes but once, and only nails the eyes. There's Grief of Want and Grief of Cold, -- a sort they call Despair; there's Banishment from native Eyes, in sight of Native Air. And though I may not guess the kind correctly, yet to me a piercing Comfort it affords in passing Calvary, to note the fashions of the Cross, and how they're mostly worn, still fascinated to presume that Some are like My Own."

"I hope your rambles have been sweet, and your reveries spacious."

"I lost a world the other day. Has anybody found? You'll know it by the rows of stars around it's forehead bound. A rich man might not notice it; yet to my frugal eye of more esteem than ducats. Oh! Find it, sir, for me!"

"I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine."

"I must go in, the fog is rising."

"I NEVER lost as much but twice, and that was in the sod; twice have I stood a beggar before the door of God! Angels, twice descending, reimbursed my store. Burglar, banker, father, I am poor once more!"

"I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea; Yet know I how the heather looks, And what a wave must be. I never spoke with God, Nor visited in Heaven; Yet certain am I of the spot, As if a chart were given."

"I see thee better in the dark, I do not need a light. The love of thee a prism be excelling violet. I see thee better for the years that hunch themselves between, the miner’s lamp sufficient be to nullify the mine. And in the grave I see thee best—its little panels be a-glow, all ruddy with the light I held so high for thee! What need of day to those whose dark hath so surpassing sun, it seem it be continually at the meridian?"

"I see thee better in the dark, I do not need a light."

"I stepped from plank to plank so slow and cautiously; the stars about my head I felt, about my feet the sea. I knew not but the next would be my final inch,— this gave me that precarious gait some call experience."

"I started early, took my dog, and visited the sea; the mermaids in the basement came out to look at me"

"I took my Power in my Hand -- and went against the World -- 'twas not so much as David -- had -- But I -- was twice as bold -- I aimed by Pebble -- but Myself Was all the one that fell -- Was it Goliath -- was too large -- Or was myself -- too small?"

"I work to drive the awe away, yet awe impels the work."

"I took one Draught of Life — I'll tell you what I paid — Precisely an existence — The market price, they said."

"I wonder if it hurts to live, and if they have to try, and whether, could they choose between, they would not rather die."

"I tasted life."

"I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness."

"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."

"If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."

"If the stillness is Volcanic in the human face when upon a pain Titanic features keep their place- If at length the smoldering anguish will not overcome- and the palpitating Vinyard in the dust, be overthrown?"

"If you were coming in the fall, I'd brush the summer by, with half a smile and half a spurn,as housewives do a fly. If I could see you in a year,I'd wind the months in balls, and put them each in separate drawers, until their time befalls."

"I'll tell you how the sun rose, a ribbon at a time. The steeples swam in amethyst, the news like squirrels ran. The hills untied their bonnets, the bobolinks begun. Then I said softly to myself, That must have been the sun!"

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?"

"If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves. You can gain more control over your life by paying closer attention to the little things."

"I'll tell you how the sun rose—a ribbon at a time."

"I'm Nobody! Who are you? Are you – Nobody – too? Then there's a pair of us? Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know! How dreary – to be – Somebody! How public – like a Frog – To tell one's name – the livelong June – To an admiring Bog!"

"I'm a Nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? There's a pair of us- don't tell!"

"In human nature’s west!"

"I'm not one! And you be? Are you also, no one? And if there are two of us - Never tell anyone! Otherwise, threw us in exile - as you know how lonely and dreary to be somebody. Sleeve is a popular public and commons, such as the frog."

"In this short life that only lasts an hour how much-how little-is within our power."

"Is Bliss then, such Abyss, I must not put my foot amiss for fear I spoil my shoe? I'd rather suit my foot than save my Boot -- for yet to buy another Pair is possible, at any store -- but Bliss, is sold just once. The Patent lost none buy it anymore --"

"It might be lonelier without the Loneliness - I’m so accustomed to my Fate -Perhaps the Other - Peace - Would interrupt the Dark - and crowd the little Room - too scant - by Cubits - to contain the Sacrament - of Him - I am not used to Hope - It might intrude upon - Its sweet parade - blaspheme the place - Ordained to Suffering - It might be easier to fail - with Land in Sight - than gain - my Blue Peninsula - to perish - of Delight -"

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

"It is finished, is never said of us."

"It was not death, for I stood up, and all the dead lie down; it was not night, for all the bells put out their tongues, for noon. It was not frost, for on my flesh I felt siroccos crawl, nor fire, for just my marble feet could keep a chancel cool. And yet it tasted like them all; the figures I have seen set orderly, for burial, reminded me of mine, as if my life were shaven and fitted to a frame, and could not breathe without a key; and I was like midnight, some, when everything that ticked has stopped, and space stares, all around, or grisly frosts, first autumn morns, repeal the beating ground. But most like chaos,--stopless, cool, without a chance or spar,-- or even a report of land to justify despair."

"It was a quiet way - he asked if I was his - I made no answer of the tongue but answer of the eyes - and then he bore me on before this mortal noise with swiftness, as of chariots and distance, as of wheels. This world did drop away as acres from the feet of one that leaneth from balloon upon an ether street. The gulf behind was not, the continents were new - eternity was due. No seasons were to us - it was not night nor morn - but sunrise stopped upon the place and fastened in dawn."

"It's all I have to bring today this and my heart beside this and my heart and all the fields and all the meadows wide be sure to count should I forget someone the sum could tell this and my heart and all the bees which in the clovers dwell."

"Judge tenderly of me."

"Lad of Athens, faithful be to thyself, and Mystery - all the rest is Perjury."

"Lest Love should value less what loss would value more, had it the stricken privilege --- it cherishes before."

"Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it."

"Life is but Life! And Death, but Death! Bliss is but Bliss, and Breath but Breath!"

"Look back on Time, with kindly eyes - He doubtless did his best - How softly sinks that trembling sun in Human Nature's West -"

"Love is Immortality."

"Love can do all but raise the Dead I doubt if even that from such a giant were withheld were flesh equivalent. But love is tired and must sleep, and hungry and must graze and so abets the shining Fleet till it is out of gaze."

"Love is anterior to life, posterior to death, initial of creation, and the exponent of breath."

"Look back on time with kindly eyes,"

"Love — is anterior to Life — Posterior — to Death — Initial of Creation, and the Exponent of Earth."

"Love is its own rescue; for we, at our supremest, are but its trembling emblems."