Verse > Emily Dickinson > Complete Poems > I. Life > 50. “I should have been too glad, I see”

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

Part One: Life


I SHOULD have been too glad, I see,
Too lifted for the scant degree
  Of life’s penurious round;
My little circuit would have shamed
This new circumference, have blamed        5
  The homelier time behind.
I should have been too saved, I see,
Too rescued; fear too dim to me
  That I could spell the prayer
I knew so perfect yesterday,—        10
That scalding one, “Sabachthani,”
  Recited fluent here.
Earth would have been too much, I see,
And heaven not enough for me;
  I should have had the joy        15
Without the fear to justify,—
The palm without the Calvary;
  So, Saviour, crucify.
Defeat whets victory, they say;
The reefs in old Gethsemane        20
  Endear the shore beyond.
’T is beggars banquets best define;
’T is thirsting vitalizes wine,—
  Faith faints to understand.


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