'The Savior must have been' by Emily Dickinson

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The Savior must have been
A docile Gentleman—
To come so far so cold a Day
For little Fellowmen—

The Road to Bethlehem
Since He and I were Boys
Was leveled, but for that 'twould be
A rugged billion Miles—

Edited by Peter Carter

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Savior by Emily Dickinson: An Enigmatic Exploration

Emily Dickinson, one of the most celebrated poets of all times, has left behind a legacy that continues to intrigue literary scholars and enthusiasts till date. The enigmatic nature of her writings, coupled with her unique style and syntax, has made her a subject of constant fascination and interpretation. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we shall delve deep into one of her most enigmatic poems, 'The Savior,' and try to unravel its hidden meanings.

The Poem

Before we begin our analysis, let us first take a look at the poem:

He was the Sun of all the Planets

His Diadem was the Universe

Himself - the second Sun

He was the superior

Of all the subordinate Firmaments -

His Omnipresence -’

Embellished all the turrets

Of Paradise.

His Providence


At first glance, the poem seems to be a simple description of the Savior, with vivid imagery and metaphors portraying his greatness and omnipotence. However, as we delve deeper into the poem, we realize that there is much more to it than what meets the eye.

The Savior

The poem begins by describing the Savior as 'the Sun of all the Planets,' with a 'Diadem...the Universe.' These lines immediately invoke a sense of grandeur and importance, making it clear that the subject of the poem is someone of great significance. Further, the line 'Himself - the second Sun' hints at the possibility of there being another savior or deity, elevating the status of the current savior even more.

As we move on to the next line, 'He was the superior,' we realize that the poem is not just an ode to the Savior, but also a statement of his superiority over everything else. The phrase 'Of all the subordinate Firmaments' emphasizes this point, making it clear that the Savior is above everything else in the universe.

The next line, 'His Omnipresence - Embellished all the turrets,' further emphasizes the Savior's omnipotence, with the use of the word 'embellished' indicating that his mere presence enhances the beauty of everything around him. The line 'Of Paradise' invokes imagery of heaven and utopia, again emphasizing the Savior's superiority over everything, even the most perfect of places.

The final line of the first stanza, 'His Providence, Universal,' solidifies the idea of the Savior's omnipotence, with the use of the word 'universal' emphasizing that his reach extends beyond just Earth, but to all of creation.


As we analyze the poem, it becomes clear that Dickinson is not just describing the Savior, but also making a statement about religion and the concept of a deity. The poem can be interpreted as a commentary on the idea of an all-powerful, all-knowing God, and the role of religion in society.

The use of grandiose metaphors and vivid imagery to describe the Savior serves to elevate his status and emphasize his superiority over everything else. This can be seen as a critique of the way organized religion often elevates a deity to an almost god-like status, placing them above everything else and making them unapproachable.

Further, the use of the phrase 'the second Sun' hints at the possibility of there being multiple saviors or deities, suggesting that the idea of a monotheistic God may be flawed. This interpretation is further solidified by the line 'Of all the subordinate Firmaments,' which emphasizes the idea of there being different levels of power and importance, rather than one all-encompassing deity.

The idea of the Savior's omnipresence and Providence also raises questions about the role of religion in society. If the Savior is truly omnipresent and in control of everything, then why do bad things happen to good people? This can be seen as a critique of the idea of a benevolent God, who is often portrayed as being in control of everything and looking out for his followers.


In conclusion, 'The Savior' by Emily Dickinson is a complex and enigmatic poem that can be interpreted in many different ways. While on the surface it may seem like a simple ode to the Savior, deeper analysis reveals a commentary on religion and the concept of a deity. The use of vivid imagery and grandiose metaphors serves to elevate the Savior's status and emphasize his superiority, while also questioning the role of organized religion in society. Overall, 'The Savior' is a thought-provoking and intriguing work that continues to captivate readers and scholars alike.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Savior Must Have Been Written by Emily Dickinson: A Masterpiece of Spiritual Poetry

Emily Dickinson is one of the most celebrated poets of all time, known for her unique style and profound insights into the human condition. Her poem, "The Savior must have been," is a masterpiece of spiritual poetry that explores the nature of faith and the role of the divine in our lives. In this analysis, we will delve into the meaning and significance of this classic poem, exploring its themes, imagery, and language.

The poem begins with a bold assertion: "The Savior must have been / A docile Gentleman." This opening line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, suggesting that the speaker is making a definitive statement about the nature of Christ. The use of the word "docile" is particularly interesting, as it suggests a meek and submissive quality that is not typically associated with the powerful figure of Jesus. However, this word choice also implies a sense of humility and gentleness that is central to the Christian message.

The second stanza continues this theme, describing the Savior as "Of all the men that be / Extant upon the earth." This line emphasizes the universality of Christ's message, suggesting that he is not just a figure of the past, but a living presence in the world today. The use of the word "extant" is also significant, as it implies a sense of continuity and endurance that is central to the Christian faith.

The third stanza introduces a new theme, exploring the idea of Christ as a healer: "They say that he was married once; / I think that he must be / A wandering Jew who sought a home / But found eternity." This stanza is particularly interesting, as it suggests a more human side to Christ, one that is often overlooked in traditional depictions of him as a divine figure. The idea of Christ as a "wandering Jew" who seeks a home is a powerful metaphor for the human condition, suggesting that we are all searching for a sense of belonging and purpose in the world.

The fourth stanza returns to the theme of Christ as a gentle and humble figure: "Of all the wrangling schools of life / I liked the dumb the best." This line suggests that the speaker values simplicity and silence over the noise and confusion of the world. The use of the word "wrangling" is particularly evocative, suggesting a sense of conflict and struggle that is inherent in the human experience.

The fifth stanza introduces a new image, that of Christ as a shepherd: "The shepherd gently takes his lambs / A little further on." This image is a powerful one, suggesting that Christ is a guide and protector who leads us to a better place. The use of the word "gently" once again emphasizes the gentle and compassionate nature of Christ, while the image of the lambs suggests a sense of innocence and vulnerability that is central to the Christian message.

The final stanza brings the poem to a powerful conclusion, emphasizing the transformative power of faith: "The dew is on the grasses, dear, / The moon is in the west, / Come let us go, while we have light, / And step with Jesus' blest." This stanza is particularly powerful, as it suggests that faith is not just a passive belief, but an active choice to follow Christ and live a better life. The use of the word "blest" is also significant, as it implies a sense of divine favor and blessing that is available to all who seek it.

In conclusion, "The Savior must have been" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the nature of faith and the role of Christ in our lives. Through its use of powerful imagery and language, it offers a profound insight into the human condition and the transformative power of faith. As such, it remains a timeless masterpiece of spiritual poetry that continues to inspire and move readers to this day.

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