"A letter always feels to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend."
- Emily Dickinson to Thomas Wentworth Higginson23
"I had no monarch in my life, and cannot rule myself; and when I try to organize, my little force explodes and leaves me bare and charred."
- Emily Dickinson to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, about 186224
"The truth must dazzle gradually."— Emily Dickinson25
"How lonely this world is growing, something so desolate creeps over the spirit and we don't know its name, and it won't go away."
- Emily Dickinson, 185026
"Emily Dickinson asked no favors from the world and granted it none. The truth seems to be that, like Thoreau, she had certain private affairs to transact that were more important to her."
- Biographer Richard B. Sewall27
My life closed twice before its close; It yet remains to seeIf 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.
- Emily Dickinson, "My life closed twice before its close"28
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.
- Emily Dickinson, "Hope is the thing with feathers"29
I heard a Fly buzz—when I died— The Stillness in the RoomWas like the Stillness in the Air— Between the Heaves of Storm —The Eyes around—had wrung them dry— And Breaths were gathering firmFor that last Onset—when the KingBe witnessed—in the Room —I willed my Keepsakes—Signed awayWhat portions of me beAssignable—and then it wasThere interposed a Fly —With Blue—uncertain stumbling Buzz— Between the light—and me— And then the Windows failed—and thenI could not see to see—
- Emily Dickinson, "I heard a fly buzz when I died"30
"I hope you're very careful working, eating and drinking when the heat is so great--there are temptations there which at home you are free from--beware the juicy fruits, and the cooling ades, and cordials, and do not eat ice-cream, it is so very dangerous."
- Emily Dickinson, in a letter to brother William Austin Dickinson31