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The manuscript of Dickinson’s poem beginning “I felt a funeral in my brain,” ca. 1861.

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till
it seemed
That Sense was breaking through -
And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum -
Kept beating - beating - till
I thought
My mind was going numb -
And then I heard them
lift a Box
And creak across my Brain my
Soul
With those same Boots of
Lead, again,
Then Space - began to toll,
As all the Heavens were
a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some
strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here -
And then a Plank in
Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and
down -
And hit a World, at every
Crash - plunge,
And Got through - Finished knowing - then -