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Exam 3: Emily Dickinson Works

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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!
39

(is one that deals with the some of the many deaths that plagued her throughout childhood and on into adulthood. Emily lost a lot of very important people to her at a young age, which would be traumatic for any child. These losses fostered an interest in morbidity, which she would hold onto throughout her life. )
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 today
Can tell the definition
So clear of Victory

As he defeated - dying -
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!
112

(is commentary on what success truly feels like. This poem establishes the paradox that a victor may feel as if he knows what success is, but the loser is the one who truly understands what success means. This poem is in the form of a ballad with the rhyme scheme of abcb.)
Safe in their Alabaster Chambers -
Untouched by Morning -
And untouched by noon -
Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection,
Rafter of Satin and Roof of Stone -

Grand go the Years,
In the Crescent above them -
Worlds scoop their Arcs -
And Firmaments - row -
Diadems - drop -
And Doges - surrender -
Soundless as Dots,
On a Disc of Snow.
124

(The topic of this poem is resurrection, which fits in with Emily's literary preoccupation with death. Resurrection refers to either the rising of Christ from the dead or the rising to life of all human dead before the final judgment.)
"Faith" is a fine invention
For Gentlemen who see!
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency!
202

(was originally sent to Samuel Bowles in a letter that is often referred to as Letter 220. Samuel Bowles became the publisher and editor of the newspaper Springfield Republican. In Letter 220, Emily asks Mr. Bowles to reconsider his refusal to publish her poems in his newspaper.)
I taste a liquor never brewed,
From tankards scooped in pearl;
Not all the vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol!

Inebriate of air am I,
And debauchee of dew,
Reeling, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue.

When landlords turn the drunken bee
Out of the foxglove's door,
When butterflies renounce their drams,
I shall but drink the more!

Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
And saints to windows run,
To see the little tippler
Leaning against the sun!
207

(is describing a mystical state that she experiences through her soul awareness; the state is so overwhelmingly uplifting that she feels as if she had become intoxicated by drinking alcohol.)
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 -

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice -
I, just wear my Wings -
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton - sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman -
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last -
I'm going, all along.
236

(Dickinson compares the different styles of religion, such as organized and personal. The "Church" represents the orthodox and formal style of religion, where the "Home" is the more personal, natural, and simpler style of religion.Dickinson prefers the natural and simple way of religion, over the organized and formal practice of religion.)
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through -

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum -
Kept beating - beating - till I thought
My mind was going numb -

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space - began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here -

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down -
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing - then -
340

(traces the speaker's descent into madness. It is a terrifying poem for both the speaker and the reader. The speaker experiences the loss of self in the chaos of the unconscious, and the reader experiences the speaker's descending madness and the horror most of us feel about going crazy. Dickinson uses the metaphor of a funeral to represent the speaker's sense that a part of her is dying, that is, her reason is being overwhelmed by the irrationality of the unconscious.)
The Soul selects her Society—
Then—shuts the Door—
To her divine Majority—
Present no more—

Unmoved—she notes the Chariots—pausing—
At her low Gate—
Unmoved—an Emperor be Kneeling
Upon her Mat—

I've known her—form an ample nation—
Choose One—
Then—close the Valves of her attention—
Like stone—
409

(The Soul becomes a personified character of it's own not just part of the human complex. The Soul has will and desire She has the power to chose the world that surrounds her, choosing her own society.)
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 -
479

(The poem as a poem of the period of Romanticism. There are differnet aspects which belong to romantic poems such as the longing-motive/curiosity
Here maybe: longing for eternity? Curiosity about Death/Life after Death? )
I heard a Fly buzz - when I died -
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air -
Between the Heaves of Storm -

The Eyes around - had wrung them dry -
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset - when the King
Be witnessed - in the Room -

I willed my Keepsakes - Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable - and then it was
There interposed a Fly -

With Blue - uncertain - stumbling Buzz -
Between the light - and me -
And then the Windows failed - and then
I could not see to see -
591

(Emily—imagining herself dead, and a dratted fly whizzing around in the silence, interrupting a quiet end. Onlookers were finished crying, and were poised -in control, when Death arrives—and simultaneously -God as well. Last part of the poem has Emily giving away her worldly possessions)
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 -
598

(Deems the mind to be as powerful as God; it is nothing less than a vessel that interprets and humanizes Divine thought and inspiration. Once again, mechanization of human traits is apparent, with the brain's absorption of knowledge of God's world being likened to a sponge's ability to absorb water in a bucket.)
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 -
620

(This poem states that what is often declared madness is actually the most profound kind of sanity. The poem can certainly be read and understood without reference to her life, as the message itself is, while powerful, fairly simple to understand—what is called madness is often actually the truest sanity, but as long as it differs from the perspective of the majority who defines what is right and wrong, it will be called madness.)
Tell all the truth but tell it slant-
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's surerb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
with explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind-
1263

(Exposing truth, is like looking at the sun, and must be done indirectly, or it can cause blindness.)
The Bible is an antique Volume —
Written by faded men
At the suggestion of Holy Spectres —
Subjects — Bethlehem —
Eden — the ancient Homestead —
Satan — the Brigadier —
Judas — the Great Defaulter —
David — the Troubador —
Sin — a distinguished Precipice
Others must resist —
Boys that "believe" are very lonesome —
Other Boys are "lost" —
Had but the Tale a warbling Teller —
All the Boys would come —
Orpheus' Sermon captivated —
It did not condemn —
1577

(Emily believes that if the story were told in a more pleasant way instead of condemning, there would be more believers.)
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