So bashful when I spied her!
So pretty — so ashamed!
So hidden in her leaflets
Lest anybody find —

So breathless till I passed here —
So helpless when I turned
And bore her struggling, blushing,
Her simple haunts beyond!

For whom I robbed the Dingle —
For whom I betrayed the Dell —
Many, will doubtless ask me,
But I shall never tell!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem So bashful when I spied her!


  1. Rich Miller says:

    I must be ignorant. I thought the poem was about a new born baby deer.

  2. Carleigh B says:

    As a rather new reader of poetry, this really resonates with me. It’s incredibly beautiful, and personal, and I can see a story so vividly. A beautiful girl being described as if she were a shy flower, not yet aware of her beauty. The narrator stealing her away from her “simple haunts” that are like a Dingle or a Dell. It could absolutely be a lesbian couple, running away in secret as both of them are just awestruck-in-love with each other. Neither of them can tell anyone who their lover is because of the time period – it’s absolutely beautiful!!

    • Jacob says:

      Yes, it is a beautiful poem, but I’m afraid I must agree with Margaret. The poet is pretending to be a man seducing a shy young girl, but she’s really describing picking a wildflower that is trying its best to resist being picked.

      • Victoria Logue says:

        I agree. She may have loved Susan Dickinson, but she did not send this poem to her. Many, many of her poems are about nature, particularly the flowers she adored.

  3. Margaret says:

    Stupid people! She is talking about picking flowers from a field. Emily Dickinson found beauty and God in nature. The object of beauty is the flower.The leaflets are its petals or the leaves around it. Dickinson is breathless gazing at a field of flowers, the flower struggles and blushes as she picks it. She has robbed the dell.

  4. Sarah says:

    This poem is very personal! It shows you and tells you that Emily was a lesbian and that she did love a woman! This poem could have made her life better or worse if people would have seen it befor she died! Atleast she ahs speaked the truth to us! She wasn’t afraid to tell us who she really was! And even though it goes agianst my believings that god is everything and that his commandments we shoudl follow! i would be proud of myself if i told everyone who i was like that! if it was something else i would have loved this poem! But it goes agianst my beliefs so thank you for telling me who you really are Emily!
    good bye everybody and let God Bless You

  5. Roman says:

    ‘So Bashful’ is Dickinson’s testament to lesbianism, perhaps her supposed love for her good friend Susan. Dickinson speaks to the scandal of the suggested relationship, admitting the embarrasment of her partner to be involved in such a socially unacceptable affair. She speaks lovingly, thought demands a masculine prescence, describing herself taking her partner’s virginity (betrayed the dell). In reviewing personal letters to her friend and alledged lover Susan, this poem takes on a similar heir of confident and unashamed love in the midst of Susan’s lack of total accaptance of the relationship.

  6. bethany says:

    I think this poem is cool in a way because she is talking about a women who is ashamed of her beauty.

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