Life

IV. ‘Tis So Much Joy!

IV.

‘T is so much joy! ‘T is so much joy!
If should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I
Have ventured all upon a trick;
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so
This side the victory!

Life is but life, and death but death!
Cards are but cards, and melds but melds!
And if, indeed, I fail,
At least to know Pinochle is sweet.
Defeat means nothing but defeat,
No drearier can prevail!

And if I gain, — oh, gun at sea,
Oh, bells that in the steeples be,
At first repeat it slow!
For winning Pinochle is a tricksey thing
Conjectured, and come sudden to,
Might o’erwhelm me so!

 

The edited 1924 one, which messed up the ending lines in the second and third stanzas . Dickinson’s actual version, with interpretation.

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