We slowly drove – He knew no haste

from Emily Dickinson – Because I could not stop for Death (712) on Rap Genius

Meaning

Death is always lurking, waiting for the opportunity to strike. This image brings out the romantic undertones contained in the poem. Death is like a gentleman suitor. At the time the poem was written it was common for a courtship in to take time. Death is like a gentleman that slowly gets to know a lady before sweeping her off of her feet and take her home with him. In this case his home would be the grave.

Aside from the personification of Death as a suitor who has swept the speaker off of her feet, this “slow” carriage ride also reinforces the death theme. The tone and description of the speaker, death, and immortality slowly riding in a carriage can also be interpreted as a funeral procession. This is further evident in the next stanza.

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