Bring Me The Sunset In A Cup, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"BRING ME THE SUNSET IN A CUP" by Emily Dickinson reflects the speaker's fascination with nature's wonders and her desire to capture and quantify its beauty. Through vivid imagery and questioning, the poem explores the limitations of human understanding when it comes to comprehending the intricate details and mysteries of the natural world. The speaker's curiosity about various aspects of nature showcases a longing for a deeper connection with the universe.


Bring me the sunset in a cup,
Reckon the morning's flagons up
And say how many Dew,
Tell me how far the morning leaps —
Tell me what time the weaver sleeps
Who spun the breadth of blue!
Write me how many notes there be
In the new Robin's ecstasy
Among astonished boughs —
How many trips the Tortoise makes —
How many cups the Bee partakes,
The Debauchee of Dews!
Also, who laid the Rainbow's piers,
Also, who leads the docile spheres
By withes of supple blue?
Whose fingers string the stalactite —
Who counts the wampum of the night
To see that none is due?
Who built this little Alban House
And shut the windows down so close
My spirit cannot see?
Who'll let me out some gala day
With implements to fly away,
Passing Pomposity?


"BRING ME THE SUNSET IN A CUP" portrays the speaker's captivation by the wonders of nature. The poem expresses the speaker's curiosity about quantifying and comprehending various aspects of the natural world, from sunsets to morning dew, birds' songs, tortoises' journeys, bees' activities, and even the mysteries of the night sky. The poem concludes with questions about the architects of the rainbow, the universe's paths, and the origins of the world. The speaker's longing to escape from the confined view of reality and to explore the universe further reflects a desire for transcendence and connection.

Critical Analysis

The poem opens with the plea to "Bring me the sunset in a cup," expressing the speaker's wish to capture and contain the magnificence of nature. This metaphor suggests the desire to hold onto beauty and wonder.

The poem proceeds with a series of requests, each questioning the details of various aspects of nature. The questions about dew, morning's leap, and the weaver's sleep allude to the intricate mechanisms of nature that operate beyond human awareness.

The inquiries about the robin's notes, the tortoise's journeys, and the bee's activities highlight the speaker's curiosity about the behaviors and interactions of creatures in the natural world. The phrase "The Debauchee of Dews" humorously characterizes the bee's relationship with dew.

The questions about the origin of rainbows, the paths of celestial bodies, and the creation of the universe emphasize the speaker's fascination with the cosmos and the mysteries of existence.

The poem concludes with the notion of a confined perspective, as represented by the "Alban House" with its shut windows. This metaphorical house might symbolize the limitations of human perception and understanding.


  • Curiosity and Wonder: The poem expresses the speaker's curiosity about various aspects of nature, highlighting the human desire to explore and comprehend the universe's mysteries.
  • Transcendence: The poem suggests a longing to go beyond the confines of ordinary existence and explore the beauty and secrets of the natural world on a deeper level.
  • Limitations of Human Understanding: The poem touches on the limitations of human perception and understanding when it comes to comprehending the intricate details and mechanisms of the natural world.


  • Fascination: The poem conveys the speaker's fascination and captivation by the wonders of nature, as reflected in the numerous inquiries posed.
  • Longing: The poem's concluding lines suggest a longing to break free from limited perspectives and explore the universe more deeply.

Literary Devices

  • Imagery: The poem uses vivid imagery to paint a picture of various natural phenomena and creatures, capturing the reader's imagination.
  • Rhetorical Questions: The poem is composed of a series of rhetorical questions that express the speaker's curiosity and wonder about the natural world.

Discussion Question

How does the poem capture the speaker's desire to comprehend the beauty and mysteries of the natural world? How do the rhetorical questions emphasize the limitations of human understanding?

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