Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Emily Dickinson strikes almost a Wordsworthian note in this poem. She speaks of the inland soul raised among the mountains, sailing the sea of life to the shores of eternity. In the very first phase of the voyage the soul exults in the sense of divine intoxication, which it experiences.
The inland soul is eager to meet eternity and therefore on its way, it exults the Journey. In its voyage back 'home', the soul leaves behind the houses and headlands, which represent the inland life, and finally passes into deep eternity. There is exultation in the Journey of the human soul to the sea of eternity. On its way to eternity, the soul (like the carriage in the poem "Because I could not stop for him") leaves behind the douses and headlands, which symbolize its earthly life. But exultation in the Journey is one thing and understanding the divine intoxication is another. The poet questions whether the sailor soul, with its worldly attachments can really understand intellectually the divine intoxication in the first lap of the journey. The poet implies the negative, because the soul passing into eternity does only experience the thrill rather than 'understand' the 'divine intoxication.'
"Exultation" in the poem means the final liberation of the soul from its mortal grip. The speaker imagines the situation where the soul is feeling ecstasy to leave all the earthly boundaries and attractions and moving to the place of absolute freedom and liberation. The speaker of the poem delineates herself as an inland soul bred among mountains, which is a typical symbol of spiritual elevation above the "headlands". The sailor is symbolically the person who is traveling to eternity, leaving all the bondages.
Dickinson has used comparatively less dashes in this poem to convey the movement and endless eternity which is absolutely perfect and delightful.
Shrestha, Roma. "Exultation is the going by Emily Dickinson: Summary and Analysis." BachelorandMaster, 14 Dec. 2017, bachelorandmaster.com/britishandamericanpoetry/exultation-is-the-going-summary-analysis.html.