Did Emily Dickinson write any other poems like "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant"?How does this poem resemble other works by Dickinson?

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vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Truth is a frequent topic of many of Emily Dickinson’s works besides “Tell all the truth but tell it slant –.”  Among such poems are the following:

  • “I died for Beauty -- but was scarce,” which opens as follows:

I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room. (1-4)

The poem then discusses the close relationship between beauty and truth.

  • “’Tis so appalling – it exhilarates,” which includes the memorable line “The Truth, is Bald, and Cold —” (9).
  • “A Tongue -- to tell him I am true” mentions truth in its very opening line.
  • “Triumph may be on several kinds” contains the following stanza:

There 's triumph of the finer mind
When truth, affronted long,
Advances calm to her supreme,
Her God her only throng. (5-8)

  • “We dream – it is good we are dreaming” asserts that “Men die – externally / It is a truth – of Blood” (5-6).
  • “We learned the Whole of Love” concludes with the exclamation “Alas, that Wisdom is so large -- / And Truth – so manifold!” (11-12).
  • “The Truth – is stirless” contrasts the reliability and steadfastness of truth with the mutability of almost every worldly thing and concludes that

Truth stays [that is, supports] Herself – and every man

That trusts Her – boldly up – (11-12)

  • “Truth – is as old as God” continues as follows:

His Twin identity

And will endure as long as He

A Co-Eternity


And perish on the Day

Himself is borne away

From Mansion of the Universe

A lifeless Deity. (1-8)

Numerous other references to “truth” (not to mention such related words as “true”) can be traced or searched in various complete editions of Dickinson’s poems, all offering fruitful grounds for comparison and contrast with “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--.” The latter poem, however, is by far her most famous treatment of the topic.

A very useful resource is Stanford Patrick Rosenbaum, A Concordance to the Poems of Emily Dickinson (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991).


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