The day came slow-till Five o'clock by Emily Dickinson: Summary and Analysis

This poem is one of the beautiful and startling descriptions of a sunrise. The beauty, brilliance and freshness of the sunrise is described in terms of the sparkle and glitter of the rubies, topazes and flashing light from the musket. Emily Dickinson's method is to throw before the reader a series of metaphors and images.


Emily Dickinson



Each image is a beautiful picture of the sunrise and each contributes to the totality of the effect of the poem. The poem is seasoned with unexpected and startling images where the small describes the great, as in, the flash of the musket-fire to describe the sunrise or parlor to describe the wide landscape.

The day came slow till five O'clock in the morning. Then suddenly sprang the light of the dawn before the hills. The sudden appearance of the light is like the glitter of rubies suddenly scattered on the floor. In another image, the suddenness with which light comes is compared with the sudden flash of light spilled by a fired gun. This is a shockingly pleasant description of the sunrise.

With the sudden appearance of the sun, the purple could not retain its hold on the eastern horizon. With a homely image, the sudden appearance of the sun is compared with the sparkling light the topazes send when unrolled by the lady who packed them at night. That is, the glorious light of the sun was enveloped by the darkness of the night, but with the appearance of the day, the light unrolls itself and spreads in the world.

The third and the following stanza describe the other aspects of the daybreak. The winds rejoice at the coming of the morning and begin to blow their instruments of music. The birds sit obediently around their prince, which is the wind. The orchard, like an extortionate usurer, steals the light of the rising sun and, in its glory, began to sparkle. The poet is immensely pleased to watch the glorious sunrise. It is a stupendous of sheer beauty and freshness. In another startling metaphor the poet calls the morning a parlor of the day.

Browse by Poem

Biography of Emily Dickinson

bachelorandmaster.com