I died for Beauty - but was scarce by Emily Dickinson Review

December 10, 2009
By Anonymous

The poem "I died for Beauty- but was scarce" is a short poem, but has a powerful underlying tone that gives the reader chills. In the poem, the narrator states she died for Beauty. In stating this, she implies that perhaps that's also what she loved for. In the adjoining room to hers, another person is laid to rest. The person buried in the tomb next to hers says he died for Truth. He wonders why he failed, as if by living for Truth he could master eternal life. The narrator says she failed too; she spent her life persuing Beauty but her journey also ended in death. The other person calls them "Brethren" because they both spent their lives purseuying something, but both their journeys ended in death. They feel a connection and they talk until "Moss has reached our lips- And covered up-our names-", or until they are completely decomposed and gone completely.
Though both people buried in the tombs lived for something they believed in, they both ended up dying and being buried next to one another. The one who lived for Truth may think his life was worth more because he valued Truth over Beauty, but in the end, it doesn't matter what he believed in because no matter what he believes, he is still going to die. He comes to realize this and identifies his neighbor, the one who lived for Beauty, as his Brethren. Though they lived very different lives, both striving for different goals, in death, they are the same. They are both dead and buried. They spend the rest of their time talking until they can talk no more.

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