I Taste A Liquor Never Brewed by Emily Dickinson, Analysis Essay

I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed by Emily Dickinson

“I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed” is a poem written by Emily Dickinson. It was published on 4th May 1861 in the Springfield Daily Republican. The poem entails four stanzas, wherein the second and the fourth lines of each of the stanza are presented with rhyming words such as pearl, alcohol, and door among others. The poem describes the vision of the poet of a summer day, where she expresses the richness of nature. The poem phrased in a lyrical expression with the use of scattered words that fit the rhyme. This is due to the fact that each stanza is distinctive to one another. The poem provides a symbolic idea of personification of getting drunk with joy and happiness that are around us. The poem is the poet’s expression of herself and the things that made her drunk. The poem’s line expresses how the delighted nature, which has been forgotten by the people to appreciate, is still making her drunk. She believes that the nature that bundles joy and happiness will always make her drunk and simply believes that she will drink forever until she leans against the sun.

The Poem

I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!
Inebriate of air – am I –
And Debauchee of Dew –
Reeling – thro’ endless summer days –
From inns of molten Blue –
When ‘Landlords’ turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door –
When Butterflies – renounce their ‘drams’ –
I shall but drink the more!
Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –
And Saints – to windows run –
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun!

Brief Analysis of the Poem

In the poem, the poet is describing herself and nature around. She is especially discussing her state of mind by portraying the random expression of how she tasted liquor. Here liquor refers to alcohol and tankards, which is a drinking vessel, but the hidden fact is that the poem with the use of word alcohol is describing the beauty of the nature, fresh air, dew, and richness that can never be prepared but yields from nature, which was enough for making the poet drunk. She emphasizes that she is drinking unprepared alcohol on a summer day, which is superior to the wine that is prepared. In the first stanza, the poet expresses her views of how one can be delighted by the surrounding nature. She somehow with her words describes that with the passage of time, human beings start to ignore things all around them. She reassures people that the beauty of the nature in itself is highly addictive, which has made the poet fall in love with it. She portrays that she is intoxicated madly not with the prepared alcohol but with the beauty that surrounds her.

She expresses the blue sky with the words ‘inns of molten blue’. Furthermore, she explains the beauty of nature not just around but also the blue sky of the summer days, which brings endless joy to her. She further mentions that even when the beautiful scenery of nature that is witnessed by everyone around, such as the bees collecting nectar from the flowers in summer days for preparing honey, comes to an end. She believes that she is forever appreciative towards the other delightful scenes of nature. In the same stanza, the poet also infers that even when the bees stop to get drunk by collecting nectar, she will always stay drunk by nature’s beauty and joy. The same stanza also portrays that butterflies and the bees are the most dedicated drinkers of the summer but even after they stop doing it, she still will consume more, the lines here again highlight that she will continue drinking even defeating the most passionate drinkers of the season. The central focus of the poet in the poem is to establish a relationship between the visionary perception and drunkenness. Thus, to make the focus stronger, the poet has used an indirect presentation of the symbols, metaphors, and images.

In the last part of the poem, the poet discusses again the divine figures of saints and the angles which are referred to as the seraphs here. With the use of these figures, the poet further expands the divine beauty of nature. She further uses the same rhythmic way in expressing the final part. Here, the poet highlights that she will remain drunk by the beauty of nature till angels swing their hats and saints run to the windows. She is here referring to herself as a ‘tippler,’ as she interestingly explains that she is so drunk with the sight of the nature that she, at last, leans to the sun. Again, she tries to express how the sun brings lights on earth due to which all the beauty of nature comes to life, which she observes to be marvelous.


  • Academy of American Poets, No. Date. I Taste A Liquor Never Brewed (214). Poems. [Online] Available at: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-taste-liquor-never-brewed-214 [Accessed August 21, 2018].