1875 | Amherst, MA

Fortune’s Expensive Smile

Emily Dickinson on what is earned.

Luck is not chance -
It’s Toil -
Fortune’s expensive smile
Is earned -
The Father of the Mine
Is that old fashioned Coin
We spurned -


Emily Dickinson

A poem. Born in 1830 in Amherst, Dickinson rarely published during her lifetime. After her death in 1886, her sister discovered a cache of almost 1,800 poems; a collection was published four years later. “We conversed with our own souls till we lost the art of communicating with other people,” wrote transcendentalist Samuel Ward after the publication. “This is where Emily Dickinson comes in. She was the articulate inarticulate.”