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 labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility —

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess — in the Ring —
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain —
We passed the Setting Sun —

Or rather — He passed Us —
The Dews drew quivering and chill —
For only Gossamer, my Gown —
My Tippet — only Tulle —

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground —
The Roof was scarcely visible —
The Cornice — in the Ground —

Since then — ’tis Centuries — and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity —

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem Because I could not stop for Death —


  1. sheryl says:

    The image of the tippet only being made of tulle – evokes the shawls the dead were buried in ancient times

  2. Phy says:

    Emily’s peom are amazing. Even if you think youyr life is so wonderful, death will still come. It come to everyone in the same manner. No one truely beats death when it is truely time.

  3. Liz says:

    It is so amazing to read all these comments. I have to write a paper about it, but it is so difficult, because this poem casts a shadow on death, love and life. The difficult thing is to find the right way to look at the shadows, because when you stand in front of the light, one will only see his own shadow, instead of the one from the poem. It is strange to read the poem, because she uses clear words,but the construction of the words are making it a little complicated. The more you read it, and the more you think of it, the more you get lost between all these different things in life that she is mentioning so intensly and yet she is able to leave it behind and take distance. ( the break between the 3rd and the 4th stanza). I love this poem because it is the way it is, and because one can reread it, no matter how old he is, what he experienced or how many times he has already read it. E.D. is a genius!!!!

  4. Kaci says:

    Because I could not stop for death is saying that overall death is out of our hands. Its saying that death is inevitable and its eternal.

  5. Alex M. says:

    Marcos I feel what they mean by those words “immortality and eternity” is that death itself will never die and it will always be your destiny.Eterenity will be a place your soul will rest forever and the Horses heads were heading to heaven. But I could be wrong.

  6. Marcos says:

    HEy, i did like this poem, but it was not so clear for me. I am student of the Literature, English and Portuguese language. I have to do lots of woks about American Literature.

    Does somebody can help me in this questions?
    1 – what does the poem mean by the words “immortality” and “eternity” in the poem?
    2 – What is the poet’s attitude toward DEATH in the poem? Explain this through the analysis of each stanza.

    If somebody can help me i will be greatfull.

    Thanks very much!


  7. Mindy says:

    If you waited any longer for death would he still of came?

  8. kristy says:

    At first I never really understood the poem. After maybe the 8th timereading it, I came to so many different conclusions on how it could be interpreted that I was just amzed! I love this poem, and ‘m doing my ISU for Enlish on it!!!!!

  9. elizabeth says:

    Hello. This poem; I did not understand it at first and it’s rude that an 8th grader would say that… JIM!Look there’s different meanings to everything, espesially poems and death is out to get all of us, just wait for it ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Mohamed El ouardi says:

    I really like this poem.As for me, it is a mastepiece because it deals with a serious issue people rarely take into account.I have chosen this poem for reciting it in front of my classmates,faculty of humanities and letters teouan, Morocco.finaly ,this poem is the most enjoyable of all, and the prettiest poem I have ever read. El ouardi Mohamed, Ksar El kebir, Morocco.

  11. mr. sniffles says:

    maybe someday i will under stand these f***** poems

  12. Nicole says:

    I believe this poem is so amazing because it exemplifies E.D’s ability to personify death in such a unique way. In this poem she is practically marrying Death and expressing her passion for him/her. She does this by creating this image of her and Death in a carriage wearing a tulle gown (wedding gown) and states how the carriage holds only them and eternity. Themes of sexuality, lust, and passion are evoked in an ironic way, as they parallel the theme of Death. This image of her passion for death is absolutely beautiful, she is truly an exceptional poet.

  13. Keelin says:

    I love this poem. It’s fantastic

  14. Cory says:

    this poem was interesting really inlighten me about how death can be so peaceful. i had to do an enlgish paper on it and i loved this poem. yea so i also wanted to say i have an awsome girlfriend and her name is katie.

  15. tara says:

    This peom inspired me to choose it for my english class. (read out loud). It has such a power that the peom will draw you in to reading more. I enjoy these kinds of peoms that have a “different” side to them. I love her work and this peom as well!!

  16. Student says:

    I love how…the poem never is eternal and never ending 🙂 we studied it in class..and i thoroughly understand it ^^ it’s a marvelous poem.

  17. Molly Hendrickson says:

    In the first stanza of this poem, the personification of death pull the reader in. The realization of death’s impending doom on us and the barely visible house is such imagery and make this poem amazingly beautiful.

  18. jim says:

    THis poem is very deep and if you can’t understand thins that have a deep meaning…………….you can’t understand this poem…………emily d. is the best poet there is and knows what she is talking about………………………this poem is one of the best i have ever read and i am in 8th grade……………………..AND I GET IT..CAN’T YOU?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!!??!!!???

  19. La Rae says:

    I confess that The first time I read this poem I didn’t understand I thing she was saying. Never read poetry when you’re tired. But thanks to the wonderful comments I now have a very clear understanding of this poem!

  20. Bora says:

    I am in 7th grade and I am in Middle School.
    I had Poet Biography,so I choose Emily Dickinson and this poem was the importantest in her poems. Also, i felt that this poem was the longest poem I had ever read. Because I could not stop for death… What was the meanig of this poem to Emily Dickinson and how was her feelings when she was writing this poemm.. I wonder how Emily Dickinson felt….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Emily Dickinson better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.