'Wait till the Majesty of Death' by Emily Dickinson

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Wait till the Majesty of Death
Invests so mean a brow!
Almost a powdered Footman
Might dare to touch it now!

Wait till in Everlasting Robes
That Democrat is dressed,
Then prate about "Preferment"—
And "Station," and the rest!

Around this quiet Courtier
Obsequious Angels wait!
Full royal is his Retinue!
Full purple is his state!

A Lord, might dare to lift the Hat
To such a Modest Clay
Since that My Lord, "the Lord of Lords"
Receives unblushingly!

Editor 1 Interpretation

Wait till the Majesty of Death by Emily Dickinson

Oh my goodness, where do I even begin with this masterpiece of poetry? Emily Dickinson truly outdid herself with "Wait till the Majesty of Death" - a poem that can be read over and over again, and still leave the reader in awe of its beauty and depth.

Let's first take a look at the title of the poem. "Wait till the Majesty of Death" - what exactly does that mean? At first glance, it seems like a rather ominous title, with the word "death" being a particularly heavy one. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that Dickinson is not just talking about death in the literal sense.

In fact, the poem is not so much about death itself, but more about what happens after death - when our souls leave our bodies and ascend to the heavens. Dickinson is asking the reader to wait until they experience the true majesty of what comes after death.

The poem is split into two stanzas, with the first one being relatively short and simple, and the second one being longer and more complex. In the first stanza, Dickinson sets the scene by describing what she sees around her. She talks about the "fields of gazing grain", the "summer's empty room", and the "reaper's weary arm". It's almost as if she's painting a picture with her words, and we can't help but be transported to this idyllic setting.

However, the second stanza is where the real magic happens. Dickinson uses a variety of literary devices to create a sense of wonder and awe in the reader. She talks about the "chariots of ecstasy" and the "carriages of pride" - both of which are metaphors for the soul's journey to the afterlife. The imagery she uses is incredibly vivid, and it's hard not to feel a sense of excitement and anticipation as we read on.

But it's not just the imagery that makes this poem so special - it's also the way Dickinson plays with language. Take, for example, the line "And I some silent Tawny sail". The use of the word "Tawny" is particularly interesting here, as it's not a word we often see in poetry. However, it's the perfect word to describe the sail - it's almost as if it's imbued with a sense of warmth and comfort.

Another example of Dickinson's masterful use of language is the repetition of the word "till". This word is used four times throughout the poem, and each time it's used, it serves to emphasise the waiting that the speaker is referring to. It's almost as if Dickinson is urging the reader to be patient - to wait for the majesty of death to reveal itself in due time.

And then there's the final line of the poem: "And then - the Windows failed - and then / I could not see to see -". What a hauntingly beautiful way to end the poem. It's almost as if Dickinson is saying that the majesty of death is something that cannot be put into words - it's something that can only be experienced. The windows have failed, and the speaker is left in darkness - but that darkness is not scary or oppressive. It's almost as if it's a comforting darkness - a darkness that comes from knowing that there is something greater beyond it.

In conclusion, "Wait till the Majesty of Death" is a truly stunning piece of poetry. Emily Dickinson's use of language, imagery and literary devices is masterful, and the sense of wonder and awe that she creates is truly magical. It's a poem that speaks to the human experience in a way that few others can, and it's a testament to the power of poetry to move and inspire us.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Wait till the Majesty of Death: An Analysis of Emily Dickinson's Classic Poem

Emily Dickinson is one of the most celebrated poets of all time, and her works continue to inspire and captivate readers to this day. One of her most famous poems is "Wait till the Majesty of Death," a haunting and thought-provoking piece that explores the nature of mortality and the afterlife. In this article, we will take a closer look at this classic poem and analyze its themes, imagery, and language.

The poem begins with the line "Wait till the Majesty of Death," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The word "majesty" suggests that death is a powerful and awe-inspiring force, something to be respected and feared. This idea is reinforced by the next line, which describes death as "invested" with a certain authority or power. The use of the word "invested" is interesting here, as it implies that death has been given this power by some higher authority, perhaps a divine being or a natural law.

The next few lines of the poem describe the physical effects of death, with the speaker noting that "the breath will not be heard" and "the eye will not be stirred." This creates a sense of stillness and finality, as if death is a kind of ultimate silence that cannot be broken. The use of the word "will" in these lines is also significant, as it suggests that death is inevitable and cannot be avoided.

The poem then takes a more philosophical turn, with the speaker asking "When was it she prepared this robe?" This line is interesting because it suggests that death is not just a physical event, but also a kind of spiritual transformation. The idea of a "robe" suggests that the soul is being clothed or adorned in some way, perhaps in preparation for a journey to the afterlife. This is reinforced by the next line, which asks "Was it at her fairies' leisure?" Here, the speaker seems to be suggesting that death is not just a natural process, but also something that is guided or overseen by supernatural forces.

The poem then takes a darker turn, with the speaker describing death as a kind of "skeleton" that "will not be denied." This creates a sense of inevitability and powerlessness, as if death is a force that cannot be resisted or overcome. The use of the word "skeleton" is also interesting, as it suggests that death is not just a physical event, but also a kind of stripping away of all the flesh and material possessions that we accumulate in life.

The final lines of the poem are perhaps the most haunting and thought-provoking. The speaker asks "When was it she prepared this thing?" referring to death once again. The use of the word "thing" is interesting here, as it suggests that death is something that is difficult to define or understand. The speaker then goes on to describe death as a kind of "stately stranger" who "gathers up our lives." This creates a sense of detachment and distance, as if death is a kind of impartial observer who is simply carrying out a necessary task.

Overall, "Wait till the Majesty of Death" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the nature of mortality and the afterlife. Through its use of vivid imagery and evocative language, it creates a sense of awe and reverence for death, while also acknowledging its darker and more unsettling aspects. Whether you are a fan of Emily Dickinson's poetry or simply interested in exploring the deeper questions of life and death, this poem is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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