(Article/content is below...)

Success is counted sweetest by Emily Dickinson


"Success is counted sweetest" is a poem written by Emily Dickinson. This is one of the few poems published during her lifetime. It was published anonymously in A Masque of Poets.

The poem starts by stating those who haven't succeeded are most excited when they finally succeed. The second stanza states that none who took the "flag" today can understand how great it is to do so, probably because they did it before. The third stanza is about the person who is defeated finally understands how great it is to win.

This is a three stanza poem with four lines in each. Dickinson has a soft imperfect rhyme in the second stanza with a perfect rhyme in the first and third.

Johnson number: 67


Success is counted sweetest

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag today
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break agonized and clear!

Next: Summer Shower
Recommended Content
Find out more information about this poem and read others like it.


Literary Movement
19th Century

Flag, Death

Last update: