Home » Famous Female Writers of Victorian Era. Their Names, Works, Information » “If Those I Loved Were Lost”: Critical Detailed Analysis And Summary

“If Those I Loved Were Lost”: Critical Detailed Analysis And Summary

The poem “If Those I Loved Were Lost”, written by Emily Dickinson tries to explore the prospect of perpetual life. She deliberately searches for an answer to how she would react after the sudden disappearance of all those people whom she loved and cared about the most.

Emily Dickinson is a renowned American poet of the 19th century. Her writings were praised for her astonishing bold artistic visions which have successfully attained their place in the sphere due to her enigmatic vision.

If Those I Loved Were Lost: Summary

In the poem “If Those I Loved Were Lost” by Emily Dickinson, a well-known American poet of the XIX century delightfully introduces a speaker portraying how her speaker would acknowledge the insight that all her credentials are lost or demolished that she used to admire.

Dickenson uses several poetical forms which include allusions and metaphorical terms in order to address an explanation of how such a loss will be accepted by her. She begins a description by fetching a reference of a town crier which symbolizes the extreme pain and crying of a villager and Ghent Belfry refers to a place where the treasures can be kept.

The ringing of the bells of the church signifies the words of the crier that would fly over the city to prompt the sphere regarding the tragedies that she has witnessed. In such a way the speaker successfully states the prominence and the impact of their presence in her life and how they played an important role in her growth following the immense anguish and sorrow she would endure if they expire.

The poem captivates a more complex structure when it shifts to the next stanza.

She willingly uses the terms of a Flemish leader to elaborate on the reaction that she thinks she would be incorporating after receiving the news of the death of those figures whom she is fascinated and loved most.

If Those I Loved Were Lost: Analysis

Emily Dickinson uniquely introduces an eagle-eyed speaker who possesses the inevitable power to find the unpreventable constraints from their imagination and the society they reside in. She has tactfully designed the poem using intricate terms to express her artistic thoughts neglecting societal limitations over sighting its circumstances.

In the poem “If Those I Loved Were Lost” Emily Dickinson artistically introduces a speaker who particularly nurtures the framework of a person after their death reflecting on the fact of how vigorously the news of a person’s death circulates and travels as if the person would rise from its dead and the bells of the church would undergo to disclose the truth.

The “bells of Ghent” in Dickenson’s poem address the Belfry tower alongside. It is a well-known venue for storing treasures and the term “The Crier” is a symbol of a crying villager or an expression of tremendous agony and grief undergone due to a beloved’s death.

She thinks that such a voice of pain would circulate the miserable news. This is an allusion or a practice that is generally performed traditionally by a city crier travelling the lanes and paths to ensure that the news has reached everyone residing in the town. Carrying a bell and ringing it often, the person usually spreads the good as well as worst news of the town.

Although the person was quite respected by the neighbours of the speaker. The news of the crier also elevates a huge loss in society.

The fourth line mentions the Ghent Belfry which is known as the third medieval tower residing in Ghent, Belgium. The construction began in 1313 and the bells are still used for various announcements of religious events in the church and often outside of it for several other essential occurrences.

Dickenson tries to address in the concluding lines of the first stanza that with the sounds of such ringing of bells the information would be conveyed to her and she would be able to understand what is happening with her lover.

Emily Dickinson in the poem incorporates “The Daisy” which has been strategically designed to represent “The Devil” with an articulation of an exact number of alphabets or it can also be referred to as a child’s game. Daisy is commonly a flower which is in the second stanza of the poem associated with death that would oblige her. She never reveals what her reactions would be after she hears the miserable news of her lover as she knows that her thoughts might change before the arrival of such dejected news.

The indication of ‘child’ in the beginning describes a human soul which is devoid of religious or spiritual faith. The news of transgression that the speaker has admired and lost will be appearing one after the other if the souls of the people disappear but if the souls of the dead are rescued then their entire good accomplishments would be harmonized and they would be initially projected. This may surely pave a way for the upcoming generation.

In the third line of the verse, the speaker tends to acquire complexity with the reference to Philip van Artevelde known as a Flemish leader wondering how he met his death. Dickenson was trying to enable her thoughts on demise to his historical moment that is related to his life.

The poem is comprised of two stanzas and the speaker describes her Fear of the wretch which will automatically drive her to protect and rescue her lover from his baleful intentions.

If Those I Loved Were Lost: Theme


Emily Dickinson in her poem “If Those I Loved Were Lost” astoundingly engages with the theme of deficit and loss. Using several complex metaphorical terms, she speaks about her retrenchment after the death of the people whom she fascinates the most.  She cannot tolerate the thought of mislaying anyone she idolizes but adds certain lines in the poem to describe how she would manage herself with their sudden disappearance.

We find Dickenson concluding the poem with a sense of belonging and sorrow for those whom she adores the most would bemuse her if dissolves suddenly from her life. Undergoing tremendous grief, she fails to find words to explain such loss and desperately searches for an answer.

Structure and Forms

The poem “If Those I Loved Were Lost” has been formulated giving it a poetical scape of two stanzas. Emily Dickinson strategically portrays a poem of eight lines. It does not follow any exact rhyme scheme although a reader may encounter several usages of rhymes in the lines. In the second and fourth line of the poem, the term ‘me’ and ‘ring’ are half-rhymes that produces only an assonant sound following the rhyming scheme while it occurs.

There is also a usage of parallelism in the first verse of the poetry as Dickenson addresses two different artistic visualization both captivating and incorporating them into the same scheme.

Literary Devices used in If Those I Loved Were Lost

Emily Dickinson in her poem induces several literary devices which include allusion, and enjambment. She also introduces the repetition of several consonant sounds associated with two or more syllables. Alliteration is concerned with the reapplication of the same phrase and sounds. For Example- Terms like ‘loved’ and ‘lost’ in the first verse following ‘did’ and ‘Daisy’ in the second verse of lines number two and three.

It is a crucial factor to understand the intentions of the poet later in the second stanza of the poem. She alludes to certain words like “Ghent Belfry” at the beginning of the first stanza and upholds the term Flemish Leader and Philip van Artevelde in the second stanza of the verse. The concluding lines state a clear portrayal of how she would manage her sorrow and pain with the sudden disappearance of those she admired.

Enjambment is referred to as a formal literary device that initially occurs when an author is found either separating or cutting off a line before its natural ending as per its poetical structural formulation. For Example- The transition which took place between lines number two, three, and four of the first verses is referred to as an enjambment.


What is the theme of the poem ‘If Those I Loved Were Lost‘?

In the poem “If Those I Loved Were Lost”, Emily Dickinson artistically portrays the theme of loss. She explains how she would undergo the news of the death of those people whom she fascinates the most but never reveals her exact expression.

What is the theme of “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson?

The poem “Because I could not stop for Death” addresses the theme of immortality. Emily Dickinson astoundingly portrays her visualization of death and its importance in her life.

When did Emily Dickinson write the poem ‘If Those I Loved Were Lost’?

Emily Dickinson’s poem “If Those I Loved Were Lost” is an astounding poem that would enable the readers to know about her fear. The date of publication of the poem is undated. It was based on the year of the death of Emily Dickinson. She died in 1886 and in this year the final volume of Dickenson’s poems and letters was further edited by Mabel Loomis Todd was published.