poetry by
Emily Dickinson

This page (first lines):
Hope is the thing with feathers
Much madness is divinest sense
Remorse is memory awake,
The heart has narrow banks;
A loss of something ever felt I.
Estranged from beauty none can be

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Poetry

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These selections from the Laurel Poetry Series edition, by Dell Publishing Co., Inc., copyright © 1960 by Richard Wilbur.

Their source was The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Thomas H. Johnson, editor, copyright © 1951, 1955 by The President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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.

quoted

Topic:

Hope

text checked (see note) June 2021

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Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
’Tis the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur,—you’re straightway dengerous,
And handled with a chain.

Topic:

Madness

text checked (see note) June 2021

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Remorse is memory awake,
Her companies astir,—
A presence of departed acts
At window and at door.

Its past set down before the soul,
And lighted with a match,
Perusal to facilitate
Of its condensed despatch.

Remorse is cureless,—the disease
Not even God can heal;
For ’tis His institution,—
The complement of hell.

Topic:

Remorse

text checked (see note) June 2021

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The heart has narrow banks;
It measures like the sea
Its mighty, unremitting bass
And blue monotony,

Till hurricane bisect,
And as itself discerns
Its insufficient area,
The heart convulsive learns

That calm is but a wall
Of unattempted gauze
An instant’s push demolishes,
A questioning dissolves.

text checked (see note) June 2021

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A loss of something ever felt I.
The first that I could recollect
Bereft I was, of what I knew not,
Too young that any should suspect

A mourner lurked among the children.
I notwithstanding stole about
As one bemoaning a dominion,
Itself the only prince cast out.

Elder today, a session wiser—
And fainter too, as wiseness is—
I find myself still softly searching
For my delinquent palaces,

And a suspicion like a finger
Touches my forehead now and then,
That I am looking oppositely
For the site of the kingdom of heaven.

text checked (see note) June 2021

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Estranged from beauty none can be
For beauty is infinity,
And power to be finite ceased
When fate incorporated us.

text checked (see note) June 2021

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