Emily Dickinson

(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)

I gave myself to Him


580

I gave myself to Him—
And took Himself, for Pay,
The solemn contract of a Life
Was ratified, this way—

The Wealth might disappoint—
Myself a poorer prove
Than this great Purchaser suspect,
The Daily Own—of Love

Depreciate the Vision—
But till the Merchant buy—
Still Fable—in the Isles of Spice—
The subtle Cargoes—lie—

At least—'tis Mutual—Risk—
Some—found it—Mutual Gain—
Sweet Debt of Life—Each Night to owe—
Insolvent—every Noon—

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Chloe P. (11/22/2013 10:56:00 PM)

    The poem revolves around the subject of love and marriage. First you must understand the traditions of marriage in the 19th century; they were mostly made out of convenience not love. Here dickinson is exploring the nature of mutual commitment and that until the promise has been made the 'value' of the transaction cannot be fully assessed. However, I do agree this is one of Dickinson's more lucid poems. The 'sweet debt' is the debt she pays to her husband (having sex) , but the oxymoron of 'sweet' is that she can may as well enjoy it. (Report) Reply

  • Lexi B (3/29/2010 8:14:00 PM)

    Noo shes talking about giving herself to her husband, and as her pay she got him. then she talks about the rich saying it wasnt a great investment of her time, but shes saying yes it was its the sweet debt of life. (Report) Reply

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