Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,
Unwind the solemn twine, and tie my Valentine!

Oh the Earth was made for lovers, for damsel, and hopeless swain,
For sighing, and gentle whispering, and unity made of twain.
All things do go a courting, in earth, or sea, or air,
God hath made nothing single but thee in His world so fair!
The bride, and then the bridegroom, the two, and then the one,
Adam, and Eve, his consort, the moon, and then the sun;
The life doth prove the precept, who obey shall happy be,
Who will not serve the sovereign, be hanged on fatal tree.
The high do seek the lowly, the great do seek the small,
None cannot find who seeketh, on this terrestrial ball;
The bee doth court the flower, the flower his suit receives,
And they make merry wedding, whose guests are hundred leaves;
The wind doth woo the branches, the branches they are won,
And the father fond demandeth the maiden for his son.
The storm doth walk the seashore humming a mournful tune,
The wave with eye so pensive, looketh to see the moon,
Their spirits meet together, they make their solemn vows,
No more he singeth mournful, her sadness she doth lose.
The worm doth woo the mortal, death claims a living bride,
Night unto day is married, morn unto eventide;
Earth is a merry damsel, and heaven a knight so true,
And Earth is quite coquettish, and beseemeth in vain to sue.
Now to the application, to the reading of the roll,
To bringing thee to justice, and marshalling thy soul:
Thou art a human solo, a being cold, and lone,
Wilt have no kind companion, thou reap’st what thou hast sown.
Hast never silent hours, and minutes all too long,
And a deal of sad reflection, and wailing instead of song?
There’s Sarah, and Eliza, and Emeline so fair,
And Harriet, and Susan, and she with curling hair!
Thine eyes are sadly blinded, but yet thou mayest see
Six true, and comely maidens sitting upon the tree;
Approach that tree with caution, then up it boldly climb,
And seize the one thou lovest, nor care for space, or time!
Then bear her to the greenwood, and build for her a bower,
And give her what she asketh, jewel, or bird, or flower —
And bring the fife, and trumpet, and beat upon the drum —
And bid the world Goodmorrow, and go to glory home!

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

38 Comments

  1. madison says:

    this peom was written at the turn of the century. it is now a century later. the poets back then used different connotations and grammer than we do today, nearly a century later. of course its not going to be the english you would be used to! they had a much more dignified and refined life back then, unlike today.

  2. Moi says:

    Agreed, very nice poem.

  3. Juan says:

    I’m a teacher of English as a foreign language in Spain and I have I degree in English. I have studied some English and American literature and to this day I never thought much of Emily Dickinson. But I know how highly-esteemed she is over there so I knew I had to reread her works and really think about them. This is just what I have started doing. I’m glad I found this web site, thank you!

    These are just my impressions on this poem at this time:

    I think this poem is about Love and how we all need it to live a full and happy life. Dickinson also refers to the way opposites attract (the ying and the yang in some Eastern cultures) and she gives us many wonderful images from nature:

    The bee doth court the flower, the flower his suit receives,
    And they make merry wedding, whose guests are hundred leaves;

    Those lines are among the most beautiful ones I have read in a long time and I mean it.

    Of course, a sensitive person as she no doubt was, she praises the Lord, her maker, the maker of all of us (as she sees it) and also of our beautiful environment and the entire Earth, created by God.

    I’ll be glad to discuss poetry with serious readers either here, in the forum or via email.

    Thanks again for this great site.

    Juan

  4. angelia says:

    that is a beautiful poem that you rote

  5. sam says:

    this poem ws written in old english times and is a very appearsnceive poem and you can see the uniquenees.

  6. shannon says:

    ok, so were living in the United States, right? so do you think she could use english?! :0

  7. Ron Bluestein says:

    Reading the comments on Dickinson’s “Awake ye muses nine” makes me fear not only for the state of reading poetry in the United States, but the state of sanity in my homeland. Not one person noted that this poem is written in classic alexandrine couplets, an unusual form for anyone and the first poem I’ve ever seen by the Poetess that is not in hymn meter. And she does it very well, unlike anyone else; certainly a far cry from the classic couplets of Pope and Dryden. Is there anything our wonderful Emily can not do?

  8. Jodde says:

    Frankly I think it’s absolutely brilliant how Dickinson is able to weave together the Old and New Testament. The references to Adam and Eve are obvious, and it is obvious that these people are written of in the Old Testament. After explaining how Adam and Eve were the original lovers and that the Earth was made for them, she rewords Jesus’ “seek and ye shall find” and does so beautifully. The poem seems to be about seeking love, and Dickinson is confident that she will find it. Though she may have never found it in a marital sense, she certainly found it in the adoration of her work. Anyway, the whole poem illustrates her brilliant use of Scripture.

  9. Mollie says:

    This poem is like…totally confusing…like i dont understand!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Kaity says:

    Won’t you go do something with your life…like take spelling lessons! yea..i said it! OH, and Mark.. who cares?!?

  11. Emily says:

    I love Emily Dickinson’c poems. I have to do a thing on her. i have to dress and act like her it’s really cool

  12. Angela says:

    This poem was pretty ggod

  13. Cassie says:

    I love this Poet. One of my true favorates~!!!

  14. zhangxia says:

    I love her poems.nothing can beat her except the beauty of her poems

  15. bridget says:

    i
    realy love her poems.

  16. anna says:

    its sucks really bad. jus playin its good but not as good as mine.

  17. kelseyyy says:

    wow okay shes a goooood poet. yup

  18. Brad says:

    Dickinson is one of the most eloquent, articulate, and talented poets of all time. She ranks among the likes of great poets such as: Robert Frost, Edgar Allen Poe, and Dante Alighieri.

  19. Josh says:

    I think emily dickinson is a very good poet…i had to do a report on her for lanuge arts and found a lot of research on her she is one of the best poets ever! and had a very ruff life! and i dont think she should get dis respect! because she started poetry….while she wrote 1700 poems i bet some of you couldnt do that because your are to lazy so dont disrespect her!!!

  20. Shaun M. Hager says:

    I must admit, kind group, that there was a time, not to long ago, where I had the idea that all the great literature ever written was written by European males. However, after reading Ms. Dickinson, she must be rated in the top five of history. My personal list: William Shakespeare, Charles Dickins, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and Ms. Dickinson. If you have a top five list, let me know. I’d love to read it.

  21. Ashley says:

    I’m sorry, but Bob from Iraq…you realize that many other poets punctuate “incorrectly.” Although it is not really incorrect, its a different and writing style, which one of the trademarks emily dickinson is known for. She wouldn’t change the punctuation in her poems even when people said it was “wrong.”

  22. Michelle says:

    I think this is a very awakning poem that many would love to read on thier spare time. Indeed it is a good poem.

  23. ryan says:

    Emily Dickinson knows her staff, i rank her with the likes of Ben Franklin, RW Emerson, but not Shakespeare.she is the best poetess of the nineteenth century, her poems are stunning.

  24. Bob says:

    i hate emily dickinson’s poems. she is very selfish and doesnt punctuate her poems correctly. she is one of the worst poets of the 19th century.

  25. anna says:

    I think that emily dickenson was one of the many writers who could describe things in a beautiful way.I am privlaged to read her work and so what if she was a lesbian I think she was very brave to write the way she did it must have been hard for her in that age.

  26. Jeremiah Morales says:

    this poem is very good, even it sound different that what I have read. I hope to read some more.

  27. Amber says:

    I love Emily Dickinson’s poems. When i first started reading them i didnt really understand them. I think that is one of the reasons why i like her. you have to read them over and over and sometimes just really think about what she is saying because of the writing style.

  28. anna says:

    I chose Emily Dickinson for a poetry reseach paper, at first just to have a poet but i found out that i really lke her and that her poems and very moving. Especially this one. Yes she is into women but hey evveryone has their preferance. I think thats why i like her, she isnt scared to say to the word that she is or anything she is bold and daring.

  29. Bridget says:

    I needed a poem by Emily Dickinson for an English assignment, and although I’ve always loved her poems, this has definitely got to be one of my favorites. It’s actually reminded me of some that I’ve written before, and I actually think that the ones that most people describe as “creepy” are the most beutiful.

  30. mark says:

    So what this is a gay poem……………….it is a very moving one……………….dickinson was a fine poet and yes probably a lesbian…but her poems are still beautiful and feeling in nature………..if u dont like them fine but dont be vulgar and put comments on this site…SO IMMATURE…………

  31. alex says:

    the poem was admirable like a wind of a great gust
    that blew over the ships to make the other winds lust.
    it was wrote in a tone with such passion,
    losing you in time and remember the forgot,
    i hope you enjoyed my poem i enjoyed writin

    plz email me with some of yours
    magic120288@hotmail.com

  32. kalima says:

    the poet was speaking about about how love is found in all places. its beautiful

  33. Barbara Domenico says:

    I truly believe she is the greatest poet of them all. Poetry is a major love of mine & I often find myself wandering off into the Bard, DHL and/or many other truly gifted persons. But when push comes to shove it’s always Emily.

    It was she who convinced me of the truth of reincarnation (she & Mozart). No one that young could be that great, unless they were accessing something the rest of us were missing.

  34. Christiarnne says:

    I really enjoyed reading this poem it was unlike any of dickinson’s poetry i have ever read before. It created wonderful imagery in my head, i thought it was simply beautiful.

  35. Katharwen says:

    The is poem possesses a theme that flits on fairies wings! Dickinson was a lovely poet and I feel honored that I’ve the opportunity to read her work.

  36. bobbi says:

    I really love this website a lot! Ithink that more people should visit these! Hi blake!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. kristina says:

    THIS IS MY POEM, i loved you so, with all my heart, so why you had to go, because now… everytime i think of you, you take away my heart

    kristina from

  38. donc says:

    the tie of valentine is an agreement of castity

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