Verse > Emily Dickinson > Complete Poems > I. Life > 4. “’T is so much joy!”

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part One: Life


’T IS so much joy! ’T is so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I
Have ventured all upon a throw;
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so        5
This side the victory!
Life is but life, and death but death!
Bliss is but bliss, and breath but breath!
And if, indeed, I fail,
At least to know the worst is sweet.        10
Defeat means nothing but defeat,
No drearier can prevail!
And if I gain,—oh, gun at sea,
Oh, bells that in the steeples be,
At first repeat it slow!        15
For heaven is a different thing
Conjectured, and waked sudden in,
And might o’erwhelm me so!


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