Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Emily Dickinson, fully Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

American Poet

"Luck is not chance, it's toil; fortune's expensive smile is earned."

"Love is like the wild rose-briar; Friendship like the holly-tree. The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, but which will bloom most constantly? The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring, its summer blossoms scent the air; yet wait till winter comes again, and who will call the wild-briar fair? Then, scorn the silly rose-wreath now, and deck thee with holly's sheen, that, when December blights thy brow, he still may leave thy garland green."

"Memory is a strange Bell—Jubilee, and Knell."

"Mirth is the Mail of Anguish --"

"Mine Enemy is growing old -- I have at last Revenge --the Palate of the Hate departs – if any would avenge. Let him be quick -- the Viand flits -- it is a faded Meat -- anger as soon as fed is dead -- 'tis starving makes it fat."

"Morning without you is a dwindled dawn."

"Much madness is divinest sense to a discerning eye; much sense the starkest madness. ’T is the majority in this, as all, prevails....Much madness is divinest sense to a discerning eye; much sense the starkest madness. ’T is the majority in this, as all, prevails. Assent, and you are sane; demur,—you ’re straightway dangerous, and handled with a chain."

"Much Madness is divinest Sense -- To a discerning Eye -- Much Sense -- the starkest Madness -- 'Tis the Majority In this, as All, prevail -- Assent -- and you are sane -- Demur -- you're straightway dangerous -- And handled with a Chain --"

"My friends are my "estate." Forgive me then the avarice to hoard them."

"My life closed twice before its close; it yet remains to see if Immortality unveil a third event to me, so huge, so hopeless to conceive, as these that twice befell. Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell."

"My business is circumference."

"My life had stood--a Loaded Gun-- In Corners--till a Day The Owner passed--identified-- And carried Me away-- And now We roam in Sovereign Woods-- And now We hunt the Doe-- And every time I speak for Him-- The Mountains straight reply-- And do I smile, such cordial light Upon the Valley glow-- It is as a Vesuvian face Had let its pleasure through-- And when at Night--Our good Day done-- I guard My Master's Head-- 'Tis better than the Eider-Duck's Deep Pillow--to have shared-- To foe of His--I'm deadly foe-- None stir the second time-- On whom I lay a Yellow Eye-- Or an emphatic Thumb-- Though I than He--may longer live He longer must--than I-- For I have but the power to kill, Without--the power to die."

"My best Acquaintances are those with Whom I spoke no Word."

"My love for those I love — not many — not very many, but don't I love them so?"

"My river runs to thee: blue sea, wilt welcome me? My river waits reply."

"Nature is a haunted house--but Art--is a house that tries to be haunted."

"Narcotics cannot still the Tooth that nibbles at the soul --"

"No ship takes us to distant lands better than a book."

"Old age comes on suddenly, and not gradually as is thought."

"Nature is what we know yet have not art to say. So impotent our wisdom is to her simplicity."

"One need not be a chamber to be haunted; one need not be a house; the brain has corridors surpassing material place."

"Open me carefully."

"Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door."

"Of 'shunning Men and Women' — they talk of Hallowed things, aloud — and embarrass my Dog — He and I dont object to them, if they'll exist their side. I think Carlo would please you — He is dumb, and brave — I think you would like the Chestnut Tree, I met in my walk. It hit my notice suddenly — and I thought the Skies were in Blossom —"

"Opinion is a fitting thing but truth outlasts the sun - if then we cannot own them both, possess the oldest one."

"Pain - has an Element of Blank. It cannot recollect when it begun - or if there were a time when it was not - It has no Future - but itself - Its Infinite contain its Past - enlightened to perceive new Periods - of Pain."

"Pardon my sanity in a world insane."

"Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell."

"Phosphorescence. Now there's a word to lift your hat to — to find that phosphorescence, that light within, that's the genius behind poetry."

"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 who have personality and emotion know what it means to want to escape from these."

"People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles."

"Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each feels shorter than the day I first surmised the horses' heads were toward eternity."

"Perception of an object costs precise the Object's loss—"

"Saying nothing sometimes says the most."

"She dealt her pretty words like Blades -- How glittering they shone -- And every One unbared a Nerve Or wantoned with a Bone -- She never deemed -- she hurt -- That -- is not Steel's Affair -- A vulgar grimace in the Flesh -- How ill the Creatures bear -- To Ache is human -- not polite -- The Film upon the eye Mortality's old Custom -- Just locking up -- to Die."

"Some keep the Sabbath going to church, I keep it staying at home, with a bobolink for a chorister, and an orchard for a dome."

"Softened by Time's consummate plush, how sleek the woe appears that threatened childhood's citadel and undermined the years! Bisected now by bleaker griefs, we envy the despair that devastated childhood's realm, so easy to repair."

"She died--this was the way she died; and when her breath was done, took up her simple wardrobe and started for the sun. Her little figure at the gate the angels must have spied, since I could never find her upon the mortal side."

"Soul, wilt thou toss again? By just such a hazard hundreds have lost, indeed, but tens have won all. Angels' breathless ballot lingers to record thee; imps in eager caucus raffle for my soul."

"Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed. To comprehend a nectar requires sorest need. Not one of all the purple host who took the flag to-day can tell the definition, so clear, of victory, as he, defeated, dying, on whose forbidden ear the distant strains of triumph break, agonized and clear."

"That I shall love always, I argue thee that love is life, and life hath immortality."

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

"That Love is all there is all we know of Love, it is enough, the freight should be proportioned to the groove."

"Susie, what shall I do - there is'nt room enough; not half enough, to hold what I was going to say. Wont you tell the man who makes sheets of paper, that I hav'nt the slightest respect for him!"

"The bustle in a house the morning after death is solemnest of industries enacted upon earth,-- the sweeping up the heart, and putting love away we shall not want to use again until eternity"

"That Love is all there is, is all we know of Love."

"Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-- Success in Circuit lies too bright for our infirm Delight the Truth's superb surprise as Lightening to the Children eased with explanation kind the Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind--"

"The brain - is wider than the sky - for - put them side by side - the one the other will contain with ease - and you - beside - the brain is deeper than the sea - for- hold them - blue to blue - the one the other will absorb - as sponges - buckets - do - the brain is just the weight of God - for - heft them - pound for pound - and they will differ - if they do - as syllable from sound."

"The dearest ones of time, the strongest friends of the soul--BOOKS."

"The fog is rising."