Dickinson, Emily. "I died for Beauty but was scarce".
Summary and Analysis
The speaker is dead and forgotten, as it turns out in the concluding line, yet she speaks. Her message is that she died for Beauty and was immediately followed by a fellow who died for Truth. Beauty and Truth are one, so they were Brethren. (The concept of Beauty identified with Truth was earlier also presented by J. Keats in his "Ode on a Grecian Urn".)
The two in the tombs talked until the moss covered the names on their tombstones. The concept that Beauty and Truth are one is supported by the image when the dead of Beauty is immediately followed by the death of Truth. Beauty and Truth are killed twice in the poem: for the first time when they die and then when they are forgotten. This makes the poem a very disturbing one.
AuthorDickinson, Emily. (1830 - 1886).
Full TitleUntitled, the first line is used for identification.
Dickinson, Emily. "I died for Beauty but was scarce". In: The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym et al. NY: Norton, 1989.