c. 1861 | Amherst

Taints of Majesty

Emily Dickinson looks up at the night sky.

Of Bronze—and Blaze—
The North—Tonight—
So adequate—it forms—
So preconcerted with itself—
So distant—to alarms—
An Unconcern so sovereign
To Universe, or me—
Infects my simple spirit
With Taints of Majesty—
Till I take vaster attitudes—
And strut upon my stem—
Disdaining Men, and Oxygen,
For Arrogance of them—
My Splendors, are Menagerie—
But their Competeless Show
Will entertain the Centuries
When I, am long ago,
An Island in dishonored Grass—
Whom none but Beetles—know.


Emily Dickinson

From her collected poems. Only ten of Dickinson’s eighteen hundred poems are known to have been published in her lifetime. Subsequent to her death at the age of fifty-five in 1886, her posthumously published manuscript immediately impressed William Dean Howells, the late-nineteenth-century dean of American letters.