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Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson


In "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" the speaker is dead and speaking about her journey with "Death" which is personified. Unlike many other literature works, Death is seen as courteous and kind, only leading the speaker to eternity. Dickinson is known to have thought about death quite often. She would constantly think and write about human experiences, nature, and human's dealings with them. Perhaps she thought about death because she has been through so much, with many of her loved ones passing away.

This poem consists of five stanzas with four lines in each. The rhyme scheme is ABCB. The first and third lines are iambic-pentameter while the second and fourth are iambic-triameter.

Johnson number: 712


Because I Could Not Stop for Death-

Because I could not stop for Death-
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labour, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

Next: The Brain - is wider than the Sky

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Literary Movement
19th Century

Death, Relationship, Nature, Love