Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Part One: Life 1. Success is counted sweetest


[Published in "A Masque of Poets" at the request of "H.H.," the author's fellow-townswoman and friend.]

Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne'er succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host

Who took the flag to-day

Can tell the definition,

So clear, of victory,

As he, defeated, dying,

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Break, agonized and clear!