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I died for beauty - but was scarce by Emily Dickinson


"I died for beauty - but was scarce" is about a woman who died for beauty while the man next to her died for truth. The man states that they are both the same, thus they are brethren. The man then states they met "as Kinsmen". They then talked until moss reached their lips and covered the names on their tombstones.

The reference of beauty and truth being the same is from Keat's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" where he states, "Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty," which speaks of inner beauty.

Dickinson makes three statements in this poem. 1) Inner beauty is the most important. 2) She longs for platonic companionship. 3) All humanly things end with death.

Johnson number: 449


I died for beauty - but was scarce

I died for beauty - but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
"For beauty," I replied.
"And I for truth, -the two are one;
We brethren are," he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

Next: I dwell in Possibility -
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Literary Movement
19th Century

Beauty, Death, Truth

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