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She is a former faculty member of the Humanist Institute. our editorial process Jone Johnson Lewis Updated March 30, 2017 Emily Dickinson, reclusive during her lifetime, wrote poetry which she kept private and which was, with few exceptions, unknown until its discovery after her death. Selected Emily Dickinson Quotations This is my letter to the world This is my letter to the world,That never wrote to me,The simple news that Nature told,With tender majesty.Her message is committed,To hands I cannot see;For love of her, sweet countrymen,Judge tenderly of me. If I can stop one heart from breaking 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 robinUnto his nest again,I shall not live in vain. Short Quotes • We meet no Stranger, but Ourself • The soul should always stand ajar. Ready to welcome the ecstatic experience. • To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. • I believe the love of God may be taught not to seem like bears. • The Soul selects her own society I'm Nobody! Who are you? 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! We never know how high we are We never know how high we areTill we are called to rise;And then, if we are true to plan,Our statures touch the skies.The heroism we reciteWould be a daily thing,Did not ourselves the cubits warpFor fear to be a king. There is no frigate like a book There is no frigate like a bookTo take us lands away,Nor any coursers like a pageOf prancing poetry.This traverse may the poorest takeWithout oppress of toll;How frugal is the chariotThat bears a human soul! Success is counted sweetest Success is counted sweetestBy those who ne’er succeed.To comprehend a nectarRequires sorest need.Not one of all the purple hostWho took the flag to-dayCan tell the definition,So clear, of victory,As he, defeated, dying,On whose forbidden earThe distant strains of triumphBreak, agonized and clear. Some keep the Sabbath going to church 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! The brain is wider than the sky The brain is wider than the sky,For, put them side by side,The one the other will includeWith 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, lift them, pound for pound,And they will differ, if they do,As syllable from sound. "Faith" is a fine invention "Faith" is a fine inventionWhen Gentlemen can see —But Microscopes are prudentIn an Emergency. Faith: variant Faith is a fine inventionFor gentlemen who see;But microscopes are prudentIn an emergency. Hope is the thing with feathers Hope is the thing with feathersThat 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 stormThat could abash the little birdThat 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. Look back on time with kindly eyes Look back on time with kindly eyes,He doubtless did his best;How softly sinks his trembling sunIn human nature’s west! Afraid? Of whom am I afraid? Afraid? Of whom am I afraid?Not death; for who is he?The porter of my father’s lodgeAs much abasheth me.Of life? ‘T were odd I fear a thingThat comprehendeth meIn one or more existencesAt Deity’s decree.Of resurrection? Is the eastAfraid to trust the mornWith her fastidious forehead?As soon impeach my crown! The right to perish might be thought The right to perish might be thoughtAn undisputed right,Attempt it, and the Universe upon the oppositeWill concentrate its officers —You cannot even die,But Nature and Mankind must pauseTo pay you scrutiny. Love is anterior to life Love — is anterior to Life —Posterior — to Death —Initial of Creation, andThe Exponent of Earth. The last night that she lived The last night that she lived,It was a common night,Except the dying; this to usMade nature different.We noticed smallest things, —Things overlooked before,By this great light upon our mindsItalicized, as ’t were.That others could existWhile she must finish quite,A jealousy for her aroseSo nearly infinite.We waited while she passed;It was a narrow time,Too jostled were our souls to speak,At length the notice came.She mentioned, and forgot;Then lightly as a reedBent to the water, shivered scarce,Consented, and was dead.And we, we placed the hair,And drew the head erect;And then an awful leisure was,Our faith to regulate. A word is dead A word is deadWhen it is said,Some say.I say it justBegins to liveThat day. Short Selections • 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 — • For my companions — the Hills — Sir — and the Sundown — and a Dog — large as myself, that my Father bought me — They are better than Beings — because they know — but do not tell. • Behind Me — dips Eternity —Before Me — Immortality —Myself — the Term between — • Susan Gilbert Dickinson to Emily Dickinson in 1861, "If a nightingale sings with her breast against a thorn, why not we?" Because I could not stop for Death Because I could not stop for Death,He kindly stopped for me;The carriage held but just ourselvesAnd Immortality.We slowly drove, he knew no haste,And I had put awayMy labor, and my leisure too,For his civility.We passed the school where children playedAt wrestling in a ring;We passed the fields of gazing grain,We passed the setting sun.We paused before a house that seemedA swelling of the ground;The roof was scarcely visible,The cornice but a mound.Since then ’t is centuries; but eachFeels shorter than the dayI first surmised the horses’ headsWere toward eternity. My life closed twice before its closeor, Parting is all we know of heaven My life closed twice before its close;It yet remains to seeIf Immortality unveilA 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. About These Quotes Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.