What if I say I shall not wait? What if I burst the fleshly gate And pass, escaped, to thee? What if I file this mortal off, See where it hurt me, - that's enough, - And wade in liberty? They cannot take us any more, - Dungeons may call, and guns implore; Unmeaning now, to me, As laughter was an hour ago, Or laces, or a travelling show, Or who died yesterday!
About the headline (FAQ)
- by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886), no title, appears in Poems by Emily Dickinson, first published 1891 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Jake Heggie (b. 1961), "What if I say I shall not wait!", 1987, first performed 1987 [SATB chorus a cappella], from Faith Disquiet, no. 2. [text not verified]
- by George Perle (1915 - 2009), "What if I say I shall not wait" [voice and piano], from Thirteen Dickinson Songs, no. 9. [text not verified]
- by Richard Pearson Thomas (b. 1957), "What if I say I shall not wait", from At last, to be identified, no. 2. [text not verified]
- by George Theophilus Walker (b. 1922), "What if I say I shall not wait", first performed 1982. [medium voice and piano] [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 73