LGBT History


LGBT Sections Intro and TheoryAncient MediterraneanMedieval Europe to WWI Europe Since WWI North America Asia, Africa, Lat America, Oceania Special Bibliographies John Boswell's Works Links Gay Icons FAQ

About IHSP Help Page IHSP Credits

People with a History: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* History Sourcebook

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886):

"Lesbian" Poems

Her breast is fit for pearls,
Bu t I was not a 'Diver' -
Her brow is fit for thrones
But I have not a crest.
Her heart is fit for home-
I - a Sparrow - build there
Sweet of twigs and twine
My perennial nest.
Her sweet Weight on my Heart a Night
Had scarcely deigned to lie -
When, stirring, for Belief's delight,
My Bride had slipped away

If 'twas a Dream - made solid - just
The Heaven to confirm -
Or if Myself were dreamed of Her -
The power to presume -
With Him remain - who unto Me -
Gave - even as to All -
A Fiction superseding Faith -
By so much - as 'twas real
Now I knew I lost her -
Not that she was gone-
But Remoteness travelled
On her Face and Tongue.
Alien, though adjoining
As a Foreign Race
Traversed she though pausing
Latitudeless Place

Elements Unaltered
Universe the same
But Love's transmigration
Somehow this had come

Henceforth to remember
Nature took the Day
I had paid so much for-
His is Penury
Not who toils for Freedom
Or for Family
But the Restitution
Of Idolatry.
Frigid and sweet Her parting Face -
Frigid and fleet my Feet-
Alien and vain whatever Clime
Acrid whatever Fate.
Given to me without the Suit
Riches and Name and Realm-
Who was She to withold from me
Penury and Home?
To see her is a Picture
To hear her is a Tune
To know her an Intemperance
As innocent as June
To know her not - Affliction -
To own her for a Friend
A warmth as near as if the Sun
Were shining in your Hand.



This text is part of the Internet History Sourcebooks Project. The Sourcebooks are collections of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to all aspects of history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, 1997, 2023

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 28 August 2023 [CV]