Because I Could Not Stop for Death

by


Emily Dickinson's most celebrated masterwork, Because I Could Not Stop for Death is often taught in high school grades 11-12. Dickinson's imperfectly rhyming quatrains, symbols, imagery, and wordplay are honest and inspiring.
Because I Could Not Stop for Death
All Saints Church graveyard

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 labour, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.


Because I Could Not Stop for Death was featured as The Short Story of the Day on Wed, May 15, 2019

Dickinson's poem is featured in our collection, Poetry for Students. Our Dark Romanticism Study Guide may be useful to teachers and students.


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