He ate and drank the precious Words —

He ate and drank the precious Words —
His Spirit grew robust —
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was Dust —

He danced along the dingy Days
And this Bequest of Wings
Was but a Book — What Liberty
A loosened spirit brings —

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem He ate and drank the precious Words —


  1. Terra Converse says:

    Thank you all for your insightful comments! They really helped me understand the meaning of this poem and the history behind it.

  2. Charles G. Edwards says:

    The poem is indirectly related to the Bible through this passage by St. Irenaeus (180 A.D,) in his book Against Heresies, Book 4, Chap.38, 1,:
    ‘He (Christ) did this when He appeared as a man, that we, as it were, from the breast of His flesh, and having, by such a course of milk-nourishment, become accustomed to eat and drink the Word of God, may be able to contain in ourselves the Bread of immortality, which is the Spirit of the Father.”

  3. Patrick says:

    I don’t think this poem is about the Bible, or any book specifically.

    What is more liberating than being literate?

  4. Gary says:

    Funny, not being the least bit religious I never thought of it as the bible. I think of it as books, any good book, setting your mind and soul free. ~ I’ve read many books in my time that have changed my life, opened doors that I didn’t know existed. ~~ The person that turned me on to this poem died yesterday. He was a very religious man. I suppose that part of the beauty is it can be about the bible and have that meaning for you and be about what I need and what it to be about for me.

    Wonderful poem. For me also it is about the only one I can recite.

  5. Casey Pierce says:

    Wow i love this poem

  6. Charity says:

    I agree with Tina. It has to be about the Bible!

  7. Tina Cole says:

    This has been one of my favorite poems for many years. Also, it’s one of the few I’m able to recite. I believe this poem is about the Bible. Why? Because it is the only book that could set a captive spirit free.

  8. meagan says:

    no1 said it was written in 1955 smart guy, if u didn’t notice a pattern.

    • Grian's #1 fan says:

      it says at the top:
      Poem Information
      Poet: Emily Dickinson
      Poem: 1587. He ate and drank the precious Words —
      Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
      Year: Published/Written in 1955

  9. Jill Tucker says:

    The poem was not written in 1955 as you suggest. Dickinson lived in the 1800’s!!

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