Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
538. Time and Eternity
By Emily Dickinson

DELAYED till she had ceased to know,
Delayed till in its vest of snow
  Her loving bosom lay:
An hour behind the fleeting breath,
Later by just an hour than death,—        5
  Oh, lagging yesterday!
Could she have guessed that it would be;
Could but a crier of the glee
  Have climbed the distant hill;
Had not the bliss so slow a pace,—        10
Who knows but this surrendered face
  Were undefeated still?
Oh, if there may departing be
Any forgot by victory
  In her imperial round,        15
Show them this meek apparelled thing,
That could not stop to be a king,
  Doubtful if it be crowned!

I NEVER saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;        20
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot        25
As if the chart were given.

THEY dropped like flakes, they dropped like stars,
  Like petals from a rose,
When suddenly across the June
  A wind with finger goes.        30
They perished in the seamless grass,—
  No eye could find the place;
But God on his repealless list
  Can summon every face.

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,        40
Since I could never find her
Upon the mortal side.

THAT such have died enables us
  The tranquiller to die;
That such have lived, certificate        45
  For immortality.

I HAVE not told my garden yet,
Lest that should conquer me;
I have not quite the strength now
To break it to the bee.        50
I will not name it in the street,
For shops would stare, that I,
So shy, so very ignorant,
Should have the face to die.
The hillsides must not know it,        55
Where I have rambled so,
Nor tell the loving forests
The day that I shall go,
Nor lisp it at the table,
Nor heedless by the way        60
Hint that within the riddle
One will walk to-day!

ON this wondrous sea,
Sailing silently,
  Ho! pilot, ho!        65
Knowest thou the shore
Where no breakers roar,
  Where the storm is o’er?
In the silent west
Many sails at rest,        70
  Their anchors fast;
Thither I pilot thee,—
Land, ho! Eternity!
  Ashore at last!


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