Page 1

Self-Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson


.


THE ESSAY ON S E L F-RELI ANCE By

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Printed by

The Roycrofters at

East Aurora,

New

Shop which is in York, Nineteen Hundred Eight their


Copyright

1908

By

Elbert

Hubbard


SELF-RELIANCE


Cast the bantling on the rocks, Suckle him with the she-wolfs teat: Wintered with the hawk and fox,

Power and speed be hands and

feet.


READ

the other day

some

verses

written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional.

Always

in such lines, let the subject

be what

may. The sentiment they

instill is

more value than any thought they may

contain.

it

of

the soul hears an admonition

believe your own thought, to believe that what true for you in your private heart, is true for all

To is

that

men,

Speak your

is

genius.

latent conviction

and

it

shall

be the

becomes the rendered back to

universal sense; for always the inmost

and our

thought is us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato and Milton,

outmost,

is

first

that they set at naught books

and

traditions,

and

A

spoke not what men, but what they, thought. man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light

which

than the lustre of the

Yet he

mind from within, more firmament of bards and sages.

flashes across his

dismisses without notice his thought, because

it is his.

9


ftelf-

Reliance

In every

work

we

of genius

recognize our own back to us with a

rejected thoughts: they come certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have

no more affecting lesson

for us than this.

They

teach

us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly

good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another. a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that

There

is

imitation

is

suicide; that

he must take himself

better, for worse, as his portion;

wide universe corn can

on

that plot of

to

though the

no kernel of nourishing him but through his toil bestowed

is full

come

that

for

of good,

ground which

The power which

is

given to him to

till.

him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he

Not

resides in

know

until

he has

tried.

nothing one face, one character, one fact makes much impression on him, and another none. for

10


It

is

not without pre-established harmony, this

sculpture in the

one ray should particular

ray.

memory. The eye was placed where fall,

that

Bravely

let

it

might

testify of

that

him speak the utmost

We

but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as syllable of his confession 35

proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made

manifest by cowards.

It

needs a divine

man

to exhibit

A

man is relieved and gay when any thing divine. he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts

muse

befriends;

him; no

no invention, no hope.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine Providence has found

you; the society of your contemporaries, the connexion of events. Great men have always done

for

so

and confided themselves childlike

of

their

Eternal

age, betraying

was

their

to the genius

perception that the

stirring at their heart,

working through 11

Reliance


being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not pinched their hands,

Reliance

predominating in

in a corner, not

cowards

all their

fleeing before a revolution,

but redeemers and benefactors, pious aspirants to be noble clay, plastic under the Almighty effort, let us

advance and advance on Chaos and the Dark.

What

pretty oracles nature yields us on this text in the face and behavior of children, babes and even

brutes.

That divided and

rebel mind, that distrust

of a sentiment because our arithmetic has

computed

means opposed to our purpose, these have not. Their mind being whole, their eye is as yet unconquered, and when we look in their faces, the strength and

we

are disconcerted.

Infancy conforms to nobody:

all

conform

to

it,

so

one babe commonly makes four or five out of the adults who prattle and play to it. So God has armed youth and puberty and manhood no less with that

own

piquancy and charm, and made it enviable and gracious and its claims not to be put by, if it its

will stand

Do

by

itself.

not think the youth has no force because he 12


cannot speak to you and me. Hark! in the next room,

who

spoke so clear and emphatic?

Good Heaven!

lump of bashfulness and phlegm which for weeks has done nothing but eat when you were by, that now rolls out these words like bell -strokes. It seems he knows how to speak to

it

is

he!

it

is

that very

his contemporaries. Bashful or bold, then,

know how

he will

make

us seniors very unnecessary. nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner,

fJThe and would

to

disdain as

much

as a lord to

do or say

aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude of human nature. How is a boy the master of society! independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift boys, as good, bad, interesting, cumbers himself eloquent, troublesome.

summary way silly,

of

He

never about consequences, about interests: he gives

an independent, genuine verdict. You must court him: he does not court you. But the man is, as it were, clapped into jail by his consciousness. As soon as he has once acted or spoken with eclat, he is

a committed person, watched by the sympathy or 13


the hatred of hundreds

whose

affections

must now

Reliance enter into his account.

There

is

no Lethe

for this.

Ah,

he could pass

that

Who

again into his neutral, godlike independence! can thus lose all pledge, and having observed, observe again from the same unaffected, unbiased, unbribable, unaffrighted innocence, must always be formidable, must always engage the poet's and the man's regards. Of such an immortal youth the force would be felt.

He would utter opinions on all being seen to sink like darts

which be not private but necessary, would into the ear of men, and put them in passing

s 5$ These are the voices which we hear they grow faint and audible as we

affairs,

fear

in solitude, but

enter into the

world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company in which the members agree for the better securing of his .

bread to each share-

holder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. aversion.

loves not realities

Self-reliance

is its

creators, but

names and customs.

14

It

and


Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the

name

must explore

of goodness, but

be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. if it

remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued adviser who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, What have I to do I

with the sacredness of

from within? impulses replied, if

I

am

devil.

my

traditions,

I

live

wholly

friend suggested "But these be from below, not from above." I

my

may They do

not seem to

the devil's child,

No

if

I

me

will live

law can be sacred

to

be such; but then from the

to

me

but that of

nature.

Good and bad are but names

very readily transferable

what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. man is to carry himself in the presence of all oppo sition as if everything were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we to that or this; the

only right

is

A

15

Reliance


and names,

capitulate to badges Reliance

and dead

to large societies

institutions.

Every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right. I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways. If malice and vanity wear the coat of philantrophy, shall that pass? 35 If an angry bigot assumes this bountiful cause of Abolition, and comes to me with his last news of the Barbadoes, why should I not say to him, "Go love thy infant; love thy woodchopper: be good-natured and modest: have that grace; and never varnish, your hard, uncharitable ambition with

this increditable tenderness for

folk a thousand miles

off.

Thy

love afar

is

black

spite at

home." Rough and graceless would be such greeting, but truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it else it is

none.

The

doctrine of hatred must be preached as the counteraction of the doctrine of love when that

pules and whines.

I

and brother, when write on the lintels 16

shun father and mother and wife genius calls me. I would of the door-post, Whim. I hope

my


it is

we spend the day in explanation. Expect me show cause why I seek or why I exclude

somewhat

cannot not to

better than

whim

at last,

but

company.

Then

again,

do not

tell

man did men in good

me, as a good

my obligation to put all poor situations. Are they my poor? I tell thee, to-day, of

thou foolish

grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent, I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. There is a class philanthropist, that

of persons to

I

whom

by all them

spiritual affinity

I

am

I will go to prison, if bought and sold; for need be; but your miscellaneous popular charities;

the education at college of fools; the building of meeting-houses to the vain end to which many now

and the thousandfold Relief Societies; though I confess with shame I sometimes succumb and give the dollar, it is a wicked dollar which by-and-by I shall have the manhood to stand; alms to sots;

withhold.

Virtues are in the popular estimate rather the exception than the rule. There virtues.

Men

do what

is

is

called a

the

man and

good

his

action, as 17


some piece Reliance

p ay a

of courage or charity,

fine in expiation of daily

much as

they would

non-appearance on

parade 3& Their works are done as an apology or as invalids extenuation of their living in the world,

and the insane pay a high board. Their virtues are penances. I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. My life should be unique; it should be an alms, a conquest, a medicine. I ask primary evidence that you are a man, and refuse this appeal from the

man

to his actions.

I

know

no difference whether

I

do

that for myself

it

makes

or forbear those actions

which are reckoned excellent. I cannot consent to pay for a privilege where I have intrinsic right. Few and mean as my gifts may be, I actually am, and do not need for my own assurance or the assurance

my What of

fellows any secondary testimony.

must

I

do,

is all

that concerns

me, not what

the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual '

18


and

in intellectual

serve for the

may

life,

whole

between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. \It is easy in the world to live after the distinction

world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst

crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the

of the

independence of solitude,

The

j

objection to conforming to usages that have

become dead

to you,

is,

that

it

scatters

your force.

your time and blurs the impression of your character. If you maintain a dead church, contribute It

loses

to a

dead Bible-Society, vote with a great party

either for the

Government

or against

spread your under all these it,

table like base housekeepers, screens, I have difficulty to detect the precise man you are. And of course, so much force is withdrawn

But do your thing, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce man must consider what a blind-man'syourself. from your proper

life.

A

buff I

is

this

game

of conformity.

anticipate your argument.

I

If I

know your

sect,

hear a preacher announce 19

Reliance


and topic the expediency

for his text

Reliance

institutions of his church.

that not possibly

word?

Do

I

not

Do

can he say a

know

I

not

of

one of the

know beforehand

new and

spontaneous

that all this ostentation of

examining the grounds of the institution, he will do no such thing? Do I not know that he is pledged to himself not to look but at one side; the permitted side, not as

a man, but as a parish minister?

He

is

a retained attorney, and these airs of the bench are the emptiest affectation. Well, most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities

This conformity makes them not a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but of opinion.

is

false in

not quite true. not the real two, their four not the real

all particulars.

Their two

Their every truth

false in

is

word they say chagrins us, and we know not where to begin to set them right 35 Meantime nature is not slow to equip us in the prison-uniform of the party to which we adhere. We come to wear one cut of face and figure, and four; so that every

acquire by degrees the gentlest asinine expression. fl There is a mortifying experience in particular 20


which does not

fail

to

wreak

itself also

in the general

mean, "the foolish face of praise," the forced smile which we put on in company where we history;

do not

I

feel at ease in

does not interest

us.

answer to conversation which

The

muscles, not spontaneously

moved, but moved by a low usurping

grow

tight

wilfulness,

about the outline of the face and make

the most disagreeable sensation, a sensation of rebuke

and warning which no brave young man

will suffer

twice 35 S&

For non-conformity the world whips you with its displeasure. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face.

The

bystanders look askance on him in the public street or in the friend's parlor. If this aversation had its origin in contempt and

resistance like his

own, he might well go home with

a sad countenance; but the sour faces of the multi

have no deep cause, disguise no god, but are put on and off as the wind blows, and a newspaper directs. tude, like their sweet faces,

Yet

is

the discontent of the multitude

more formid

able than that of the senate and the college. It is easy enough for a firm man who knows the world to 21

3&eliance


brook the rage of the cultured classes. Their rage is Reliance decorous and prudent, for they are timid as being =

very vulnerable themselves 35 But when to their feminine rage the indignation of the people is added, the ignorant and the poor are aroused, when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom

when

of society

is

made

to

growl and

mow,

it

habit of magnanimity and religion to treat as a trifle of

The

needs the it

godlike

no concernment.

other terror that scares us from self-trust

is

our

consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.

But

why

shoulder?

should you keep your head over your drag about this monstrous corpse of

Why

you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then? It seems to be a rule

your memory,

lest

wisdon never to scarcely even in acts

of

past for

and

live 22

on your memory alone, pure memory, but bring the

rely of

judgment into the thousand-eyed present, ever in a new day. Trust your emotion. In


your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity: yet when the devout motions of the soul come, Reliance yield to them heart and life, though they should clothe

God

with shape and color. Leave your theory as

Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and CJ

A

foolish consistency

minds, adored by

little

flee.

the hobgoblin of little statesmen and philosophers is

and divinesj With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do\ He may as well concern himself with

shadow on the wall. Out upon your guarded lips! Sew them up with packthread, do. Else, if you would be a man, speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though

his

contradict every thing you said to-day. Ah, then, exclaim the aged ladies, you shall be sure to be

it

misunderstood.

word s&

Is

it

a right fool's so bad then to be misunderstood? Misunderstood!

It

is

Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and

and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever

Jesus,

I

To

be great is to be misunderstood. suppose no man can violate his nature. All the

took

flesh.

23


sallies of his will 3&eliance

are rounded in

by the law of his Andes and Himmaleh

being as the inequalities of are insignificant in the curve of the sphere. Nor does it matter how you gauge and try him. character

A

is

like

an

acrostic or

Alexandrian stanza;

forward, backward, or across,

it still

it

spells the

same

which

God

thing. In this pleasing contrite wood-life

me

read

by day my hone3t thought without prospect or retrospect, and I cannot doubt, it will be found symmetrical, though I mean it not, and see it not. My book should smell of pines and resound with the hum of insects. The swallow allows me,

over

let

my window

record day

should interweave that thread or

straw he carries in his pass for wills.

what

we

are.

bill

into

my web

also.

We

Character teaches above our

Men imagine that they communicate their virtue

or vice only

by

overt actions and do not see that

virtue or vice emit a breath every

Fear never but you

shall

moment.

be consistent in whatever

variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. For of one will, the actions will be

harmonious, however unlike they seem. These varieties are lost sight of 24

when seen at a

little

distance,


at

a

them line

little all.

of a

criticism. it

height of thought. One tendency unites The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag

hundred

See the

tacks.

line

This

from a

is

only microscopic

sufficient distance,

straightens itself to the average tendency.

genuine action will explain

itself

and

and

Your

will explain

your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.

Act

now. Be

it

and what you have already done singly, will justify you now. Greatness always appeals to the future. If I can be great enough to do right now and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before, as to defend me singly,

how

do

now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may. The force of character is cumulative. All the foregone days of virtue work their health into this. What makes the it

will,

right

majesty of the heroes of the senate and the field, which so fills the imagination? The consciousness of a train of great days and victories behind. There they all stand and shed an united light on the

advancing actor 35

He

is

attended as by a visible

That is it which Chatham's voice, and dignity

escort of angels to every man's eye.

throws thunder into

25

Reliance


Washington's port, and America into Adam's eye 5$ Honor is venerable to us because it is no into

lUitaiue

We We

always ancient virtue. worship it to-day, because it is not of to-day. love it and pay it homage, because it is not a trap for our ephemeris.

It is

love and homage, but is self-dependent, self-derived, and therefore of an old immaculate pedigree, even

shown

a young person. I hope in these days we have heard the last of con formity and consistency. Let the words be gazetted and ridiculous henceforward. Instead of the gong for if

in

dinner, let us hear a whistle from the Spartan

bow and apologize great man is coming to

Let us

never more.

A

eat at

my

house.

I

fife.

do not

wish to please him: I wish that he should wish to please me. I will stand here for humanity, and though

would make it kind, I would make it true. Let us affront and reprimand the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times, and hurl in the face of custom, and trade, and office, the fact which I

a great responsible Thinker and Actor moving wherever moves a man; that a true man belongs to no other is

the upshot of

26

all

history,

that there

is


time or place, but is,

there

and

all

is

nature.

events.

is

the centre of things.

He

You

Where he

measures you, and

men,

all

are constrained to accept his

standard.

Ordinarily everybody in society reminds us of some

what

else or of

some other person. Character,

reminds you of nothing

else.

It

reality,

takes place of the

whole creation. The man must be so much that he must make all circumstances indifferent, put all means into the shade. This all great men are and do. fl Every true man is a cause, a country, and an age requires infinite spaces and numbers and time fully ;

and posterity seem to accomplish his thought; follow his steps as a procession. man Caesar is to

A

we

Roman

born and

for ages after,

Christ

born, and millions of minds so

is

have a

cleave to His genius, that He virtue and the possible of man.

is

Empire.

grow and

confounded with

An

institution

is

the

lengthened shadow of one man; as the Reformation, of

Luther; Quakerism, of Fox; Methodism, of Wesley; Abolition, of Clarkson 35 Scipio, Milton called "the height of itself

Rome;" and

all

history resolves

very easily into the biography of a stout and 27


earnest persons. t| Let a Jfcritance

man

then

know

his worth,

and keep things under his feet. Let him not peep or steal, or skulk up and down with the air of a charityboy, a bastard, or an interloper, in the world which exists for him. But the man in the street finding no

worth in himself which corresponds to the force which built a tower or sculptured a marble god, feels poor

when he

looks on these.

To him

a palace, a

a costly book have an alien and forbidding much like a gay equipage, and seem to say like

statue, or air,

that,

'Who

are you, sir?'

Yet they

all

are his, suitors

for his notice, petitioners to his faculties that

will for

out and take possession. The verdict: it is not to command

come

my

they picture waits me, but I am

claims to praise. popular fable of the sot

to settle

its

who was picked up That dead drunk in the street, carried to the duke's house, washed and dressed and laid in the duke's bed, and on his waking, treated with all obsequious ceremony like the duke, and assured that he had been insane, -owes its popularity to the fact, that it symbolizes man, who is in the world a but now and then wakes up, exercises

so well the state of of sot, 28

sort

his


reason, is

and

finds himself

a true prince.

J

Our

reading

mendicant and sycophantic. In history, our imagi-

nation makes fools of us, plays us false. Kingdom and lordship, power and estate are a gaudier vocabu lary than private John and Edward in a small house

and common day's work: but the things of life are the same to both: the sum total of both is the same.

Why

deference to Alfred, and Scanderbeg, and Gustavus? Suppose they were virtuous: did they all this

wear out virtue?

As

renowned

When

great a stake depends on your private act to-day, as followed their public and steps.

private

vast views, the lustre will

men

with

shall act

be transferred from the

actions of kings to those of gentlemen.

The world has indeed been instructed by its who have so magnetized the eyes of nations.

kings,

has

It

been

taught by this colossal symbol the mutual reverence that is due from man to man. The joyful loyalty with

which men have every where

suffered

the king, the noble, or the great proprietor to among them by a law of his own, make his scale of-

men and

benefits not

things,

and reverse

theirs,

walk

own

pay

for

with money but with honor, and represent 29

Reliance


Reliance

Law in his person, was

the hieroglyphic by which they obscurely signified their consciousness of their

the

own

and comeliness, the right of every man. tjfThe magnetism which all original action exerts is right

Who

is

when we

inquire the reason of self-trust. the Trustee? What is the aboriginal Self on

explained

which a universal reliance may be grounded? What is the nature and power of that science-baffling star, without parallax, without calculable elements, which shoots a ray of beauty even into trivial and impure actions, if the least mark of independence appear?

The

inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, the essence of virtue, the essence of

life,

denote

which this

we

call

Spontaneity or

Instinct.

We

primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst

all

later teachings are tuitions.

behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their common origin. For the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we In that

know

deep

force, the last fact

not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them, and proceedeth obviously from the

not how, in the soul,

same source whence 30

is

their

life

and being

also


proceedeth.

We

first

share the

life

by which

things

and afterwards see them as appearances in nature, and forget that we have shared their cause.

exist,

<JHere

is

thought.

the fountain of action and the fountain of

Here

man wisdom,

giveth

which man which

are the lungs of that inspiration of that inspiration of

cannot be denied without impiety and atheism. lie in

the lap of

immense

intelligence,

We

which makes

us organs of its activity and receivers of its truth. we discern justice, we discern truth, we do

When

nothing of ourselves, but allow a passage to its beams. If we ask whence this comes, if we seek to pry into the soul that causes, is

at fault. Its

affirm 33

all

metaphysics,

presence or

absence

its

all

philosophy

is all

we

can

33

Every man discerns between the voluntary acts his mind, and his involuntary perceptions. And his involuntary perceptions,

due.

respect

is

but he

knows

night, not to

He may err

of to

he knows a perfect

in the expression of them,

day and wilful actions and

that these things are so, like

be disputed. All

acquisitions are but roving;

my

the most trivial reverie,

the faintest native emotion are domestic

and

divine. 31

JUliance


Reliance

^[Thoughtless people contradict as readily the

state-

ment more

much

of perceptions as of opinions, or rather

readily; for, they

perception and notion.

do not distinguish between

fancy that I choose to see this or that thing. But perception is not whimsical, but fatal. If I see a trait, my children will see it after

They

me, and in course of time, all mankind, although it may chance that no one has seen it before me. For

my perception

fJThe

it is

as

much a

fact as the sun.

relations of the soul to the divine spirit are

profane to seek to interpose helps. must be that when God speaketh, He should com

so pure that It

of

it

is

municate not one thing, but all things; should fill the world with His voice; should scatter forth light, nature, time, souls, from the center of the present

thought; and

new

Whenever a mind

date and is

new

simple,

create the whole.

and receives a divine

wisdom, then old things pass away, means, teachers, texts, temples fall; it lives now and absorbs past and future into the present hour. All things are made

by relation to it, one thing as much as another. All things are dissolved to their center by their cause, and in the universal miracle petty sacred

32


and be.

particular miracles disappear. ^|This If,

therefore, a

man

claims to

is

and must

know and speak

of

God, and carries you backward to the phraseology of some old mouldered nation in another country, in another world, believe him not. Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fulness and completion? Is the parent better than the child into cast his ripened being?

Whence

whom

then

this

he has worship

of the past?

The

centuries are conspirators against the sanity and majesty of the soul. Time and space are but physio

which the eye maketh, but the soul is light; where it is, is day; where it was, is night; and history is an impertinence and an injury, if it be anything more than a cheerful apologue or parable of my being and becoming. Man is timid and apologetic. He is no longer upright. He dares not say "I think," "I am," but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There logical colors

33

Sbttt-

Jtelianee


simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole is

J&eliance

life acts; in

the full-blown flower, there

in the leafless root, there satisfied,

is

no

and it satisfies nature, no time to it.

There is But man postpones

less

in all

3&

is

Its

no more; nature

moments

is

alike.

remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the or

surround him, stands on tiptoe to forsee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he, too, lives with nature in past, or, heedless of the riches that

the present, above time. This should be plain enough. intellects

dare not yet hear

speak the phraseology of or Jeremiah, or Paul.

You see what strong God Himself, unless He

I

We

great a price on a like children

who

grandames and

men

few

texts,

not what David, shall not always set so

on a few

lives.

We are

by rote the sentences and as they grow older,

repeat

tutors,

know

of of

and character they chance to see, painfully recollecting the exact words they spoke; afterwards, when they come into the point of view which those had who uttered these sayings, they the

34

of talents


understand them, and are willing to let the words go; for, at any time, they can use words as good, when occasion comes. So was it with us, so will it be, {} is

we

if

It is

proceed.

for the

its

we

live truly,

as easy for the strong

weak

perception, of

If

we

to

be weak.

man

we to

When

shall see truly.

be strong, as it we have new

shall gladly disburthen the

hoarded treasures as old rubbish.

memory When a man

with God, his voice shall be as sweet as the murmur of the brook and the rustle of the corn. lives

fj

And now

at last the highest truth

on

this subject

remains unsaid; probably, cannot be said; for

we

the far

all

that

remembering of the intuition. That thought, by what I can now nearest approach to say it, is this. When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or say

is

off

appointed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall

not hear any name;

the way, the thought, the

be wholly strange and new. It shall exclude all other being. You take the way from man not to man. All persons that ever existed are its fugitive good

shall

ministers.

There

shall

be no

fear in

it.

Fear and hope 35

Reliance


asks nothing. If There is even in hope. are then in vision.

are alike beneath Reliance

it.

We

somewhat low There is nothing

that

The

soul

properly joy.

It

can be called gratitude nor is

raised over passion.

It

seeth

and eternal causation. It is a perceiving that Truth and Right are. Hence it becomes a Tran identity

quillity out of the

knowing

that all things

go well.

Vast spaces of nature; the Atlantic Ocean, the South Sea; vast intervals of time, years, centuries, are of no account. This which I think and feel, underlay that former state of life and circumstances, as it does underlie my present, and will always all circumstance, and what is called life, and what is called death. Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state; in the shooting of the gulf; in the darting to

an aim. This one

the world hates, that the soul forever degrades the past; turns

becomes;

all

for,

fact

that

riches to poverty;

reputation to a shame; confounds the saint with the rogue; shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside.

all

Why

then do 36

we

prate of self-reliance? Inasmuch


as the soul

is

present, there will be

power not confident Reliance

but agent.

To talk of reliance, is a poor external way of speaking. Speak rather of that which relies, because it works and is. Who has more soul than I, masters me, though he should not raise his finger. Round him I must evolve by the gravitation of spirits; who has less, I rule with like facility. fancy it rhetoric when do not yet see that we speak of eminent virtue.

We

We

virtue

is

man

company of men principles, by the law of

Height, and that a

and permeable to nature must overpower and

plastic

kings, rich

This

is

men,

poets,

who

the ultimate fact

or

ride all cities, nations,

are not.

which we

so quickly reach

on every topic, the resolution of all into the ever blessed One. Virtue is the governor, the on

this as

creator, the reality.

All things

real are so

by

so

much

they contain. Hardship, husbandry, hunting, whaling, war, eloquence, personal weight, are somewhat, and engage my respect as examples of virtue as

presence and impure action. see the same law working in nature for conversation

of the soul's I

and growth.

The

poise of a planet, the

bended 37

tree


JXeltance

recovering itself from the strong wind, the vital resources of every vegetable and animal, are also

demonstrations of the self-sufficing, and therefore self-relying soul. trivial

All history from

highest to

its

its

the various record of this power. concentrates; let us not rove; let us sit at

passages

Thus all home with

is

the cause. Let us stun and astonish the

intruding rabble of men and books and institutions by a simple declaration of the divine fact. Bid them

take the shoes from

off their feet,

for

God

here

is

within. Let our simplicity judge them, and our docility to our own law demonstrate the poverty of nature

and fortune beside our native riches. But now we are a mob. Man does not stand of

man, nor

to put

is

itself

ocean, but

it

in

awe

the soul admonished to stay at home, in communication with the internal

goes abroad to beg a cup of water of

the urns of men.

We

must go alone.

Isolation

must

precede true society. I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching. How far off, how cool,

how

chaste the persons look, begirt each one with a precinct or sanctuary. So let us always sit.

Why

38


should

we

assume the

our friend, or wife, or father, or child, because they sit around our hearth, or are said to have the same blood? All men have

my

blood, and

I

have

faults of

men's.

all

adopt their petulance and

folly,

Not

for that will

I

even to the extent

being ashamed of it. But your isolation must not be mechanical, but spiritual, that is, must be of

elevation.

At to

times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy

importune you with emphatic

child, sickness, fear, at thy closet

Do

not

spill

state; stay at for

trifles.

want, charity,

all

Friend, client,

knock

at

once

door and say, "Come out unto us." thy soul; do not all descend; keep thy

home

in thine

a moment into their

own

heaven; come not

facts, into their

hubbub

of

conflicting appearances, but let in the light of thy

law on

their confusion.

The power men

possess to

give them by a weak curiosity. No man can come near me but through my act. "What we love that we have, but by desire we bereave ourselves

annoy me,

I

of the love." If

we

cannot at once

ence and

faith, let

rise to

the sanctities of obedi

us at least resist our temptations, 39

Reliance


let

Reliance

us enter into the state of war, and

wake Thor

and Woden, courage and constancy in our Saxon breasts. This is to be done in our smooth times by speaking the truth. Check this lying hospitality and lying affection. Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse.

Say

brother,

to them,

O

O father, O mother, O

wife,

have lived with you after Henceforward I am the truth's.

friend,

I

appearances hitherto. fJBe it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the external law. I will have no covenants but proximities.

my

parents, to support

my

shall

endeavor to nourish

family, to

be the chaste

one wife, but these relations I must fill a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from

husband after

1

of

your customs. I must be myself. 1 cannot break myself any longer

you can love

me

for

what

I

am,

for you, or you. If

we

shall

be happier.

you cannot, I will still to deserve that you should. must be myself. I will not hide my tastes or aversions.

If I

will so trust that

what

deep is holy, that I do strongly before the sun and moon whatever rejoices me, and the heart appoints. I

40

is

will

inly


you are noble,

If

I

will love you;

if

you are

not,

I

you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly. It is will not hurt

alike your interest

we

long

lies,

follow the truth,

But

it

men's, however

all

Does soon love what

to live in truth.

You

by your nature

dictated

we I

have dwelt in

sound harsh to-day?

this is

and mine and

will

as well as mine,

and

if

will bring us out safe at last.

you may give these friends pain. Yes, but cannot sell my liberty and my power, to save their so

sensibility. Besides, all persons

of reason

have

their

moments

when

they look out into the region of absolute truth; then will they justify me and do the

same

thing.

The

populace think that your rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standard, and mere antinomianism; and the bold sensualist will use the

name

of philosophy to gild his crimes.

of consciousness abides. in

one

or the other of

You may

fulfil

But the law

There are two confessionals, which we must be shriven.

your round of duties by clearing 41

Reliance


yourself in the direct, or, in the reflex way. Consider Reliance

whether you have

satisfied

your relations to father,

mother, cousin, neighbor, town, cat and dog; whether

any of these can upbraid you. But I may also neglect this reflex standard, and absolve me to myself. I have my own stern claims and perfect circle. It denies the name of duty to

many

offices

that are called duties.

But

if

I

can

discharge its debts, it enables me to dispense with the popular code. If any one imagines that this law

him keep its commandment one day. And truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity, and is

lax, let

has ventured to trust himself for a task-master.

be

High

his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that

may

in

good earnest be doctrine,

society,

himself, that a simple purpose may strong as iron necessity is to others.

be

to

law

to

him

as

any may consider the present aspects of what called by distinction society, he will see the need these ethics. The sinew and heart of man seem If

be drawn

out,

and

we

ponding whimperers. 42

he

is

of to

are becoming timorous des are afraid of truth, afraid

We


of fortune, afraid of death,

Our age

and afraid

of

each other.

no great and perfect persons. want men and women who shall renovate

We

Reliance

yields

and our

social state, but

we

see that most natures are

insolvent; cannot satisfy their

ambition out of

all

life

own

wants, have an

proportion to their practical force,

and so do lean and beg day and night continually. Our housekeeper is mendicant, our arts, our occu our marriages, our religion chosen, but society has chosen for us.

we have

pations,

soldiers.

we

born, If

The rugged

We are parlor

where

strength

is

shun.

our young

they lose

battle of fate,

not

all

men

miscarry in their first enterprises, heart. If the young merchant fails, men

say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is installed in an office within one

year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that

he

is

right in being disheartened

plaining the rest of his sturdy lad from

A

who

Hampshire

in turn tries all the professions, it,

in

com

life.

New

farms

and or

Vermont,

who

teams

it,

peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a 43


Reliance

newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat,

on

falls

his feet,

is

worth a hundred

of these city

He

walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not "studying a profession," for he does not dolls.

postpone his life, but lives already. chance, but a hundred chances.

Let a

stoic arise

who

shall

He

has not one

reveal the resources of

man, and tell men they are not leaning willows, but can and must detach themselves; that with the exercise

new powers shall appear; that a man is word made flesh, born to shed healing to the

of self-trust,

the

he should be ashamed of our compassion, and that the moment he acts from himself, tossing the laws, the books, idolatries and customs out of nations, that

the

window,

revere him, life of

all

man

we and

pity

him no more but thank and

that the teacher shall restore the

to splendor,

and make

his

name dear

to

History.

It is

easier to see that

a greater

self-reliance,

must respect for the divinity in man, lution in all the offices and relations of

a

new

work a revo men;

in their

religion; in their education; in their pursuits; their 44


modes

of living; their association; in their property;

in their speculative views. 1

In

.

JReliance

what prayers do men allow themselves! That

which they call a holy office, is not so much as brave and manly. Prayer looks abroad and asks for some foreign addition to come through some foreign virtue, and loses itself in endless mazes of natural and supernatural, and mediatorial and miraculous. Prayer that craves

than

all

a particular commodity

good,

is

vicious.

Prayer

is

any thing

less

the contemplation

from the highest point of view. It the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It the spirit of God pronouncing His works good.

of the facts of life is is

tjfBut prayer as a

means

a private end, is theft and meanness. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at

to effect

one with God, he will not beg.

prayer in

all action.

in his field to

The prayer

weed it, the prayer

He

will then see

of the farmer kneeling

of the

rower kneeling

with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends. Caratach, in Fletcher's

the

mind

Bonduca, when admonished

of the

god Audate,

to inquire

replies, 45


His hidden meaning lies in our endeavors, ur va ^ ors are our kest gds.

^

Reliance

Another content will.

sort of false prayers are our regrets.

is

the

want

of self-reliance;

if

not,

infirmity of

you can therefore help attend your own work, and already if

Regret calamities,

the sufferer;

it is

Dis

Our sympathy is just them who weep foolishly, and

the evil begins to be repaired. as base.

We come

to

down and

cry for company, instead of imparting to them truth and health in rough electric shocks,

sit

putting

them once more

in

communication with the

The secret of fortune is joy in our Welcome evermore to gods and men

soul.

helping man. For him all

tongues greet,

all

hands. is

the self-

doors are flung wide. Him honors crown, all eyes follow all

Our

love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it. solicitously

with

desire.

We

and apologetically caress and celebrate him, because he held on his way and scorned our disapprobation.

The

gods love him because

men

hated him.

"To

the

persevering mortal," said Zoroaster, "the blessed Immortals are swift."

As

men's prayers are a disease of the 46

will, so are


their creeds

a disease of the intellect.

those foolish Israelites,

we

"Let not

They

God

say with

speak to us, with us, and

Speak thou, speak any man we will obey." Everywhere I am bereaved of meeting God in my brother, because he has shut his own temple doors, and recites fables merely of his brother's, or his brother's brother's God. Every new mind is a new classification. If it prove a mind of uncommon activity and power, a Locke, lest

die.

a Lavoisier, a Hutton, a Bentham, a Spurzheim,

imposes

its

classification

on other men, and

lo!

it

a

new

system. In proportion always to the depth of the thought, and so to the numbers of the objects it

touches and brings within reach of the pupil,

his

complacency. But chiefly

is

this

is

apparent in

creeds and churches, which are also classifications of

some powerful mind acting on the great elemental thought of Duty, and man's relation to the Highest. Such is Calvinism, Quakerism, Swedenborgianism. fJThe pupil takes the same delight in subordinating everything to the new terminology that a girl does who has just learned botany, in seeing a new earth

and new seasons thereby.

It

will

happen

for

a time, 47

Reliance


that the pupil will feel a real debt to the teacher, Reliance

will find his intellectual

power has grown by the

study of his writings. This will continue until he has exhausted his master's mind.

But

unbalanced minds, the classification is idolized, passes for the end, and not for a speedily in all

exhaustible means, so that the walls of the system blend to their eye in the remote horizon with the

walls of the universe; the luminaries of heaven seem

them hung on the arch their master built. They cannot imagine how you aliens have any right to how you can see; "It must be somehow that see, you stole the light from us." They do not yet perceive, that, light unsystematic, to

indomitable, will break into any cabin, even into

Let them chirp awhile and call it their own. If they are honest and do well, presently their neat new pinfold will be too strait and low, will crack, will lean, will rot and vanish, and the immortal light, theirs.

all

young and

will

fl2.

beam It

is

joyful, million-orbed, million-colored,

over the universe as on the for

want

morning.

of self -culture that the idol of

Traveling, the idol of 48

first

Italy, of

England, of Egypt,


remains for

all

made England,

educated Americans. Italy

or

They who

Greece venerable

in

the

by rambling round creation as a moth round a lamp, but by sticking fast where they were, like an axis of the earth. In manly hours, feel that duty is our place, and that the merrymen of circumstance should follow as they may. The soul is no traveler: the wise man stays at home with the soul, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still, and is not gadding abroad from himself, and shall make men sensible by the expression of his countenance, that he goes the missionary of wisdom and virtue, and visits cities and men like a sovereign, and not like an interloper imagination, did so not

or a valet.

have no churlish objection to the circumnavigation of the globe, for the purposes of art, of study, and I

benevolence, so that the man is first domesticated, or does not go abroad with the hope of finding

somewhat

greater than

he knows.

He who

travels to

be amused, or to get somewhat which he does not carry, travels away from himself, and grows old even 49

^Reliance


his will

among old things. In Thebes, in Palmyra, and mind have become old and dilapidated

as they.

He

in youth Reliance

is

Traveling

carries ruins to ruins.

a

We

fool's paradise.

journeys the discovery that place I

dream

embrace

wake up

at last

my in

I

first

At home

can be intoxi

sadness.

I

pack

my

embark on the sea, and Naples, and there beside me is

friends,

the stern Fact, the sad

self,

unrelenting, identical,

seek the Vatican, and the palaces. affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions,

that I

my

to our

nothing.

Rome,

that at Naples, at

cated with beauty, and lose trunk,

is

owe

but

I

fled from.

I

am

wherever 3.

I

not intoxicated. I

My

giant goes with

me

go.

But the rage

of traveling

only a symptom

is itself

a deeper unsoundness affecting the whole intel lectual action. The intellect is vagabond, and the of

universal system of education fosters restlessness. Our minds travel when our bodies are forced to stay at

home.

We imitate; and what

is

imitation but

the traveling of the mind? Our houses are built with foreign taste; our shelves are garnished with foreign

ornaments; our opinions, our 50

tastes,

our whole minds


and follow the Past and the Distant, as the eyes of a maid follow her mistress. The soul created the arts wherever they have flour ished. It was in his own mind that the artist sought his model. It was an application of his own thought lean,

be done and the conditions to be why need we copy the Doric or the

to the thing to

observed.

And

Gothic model? Beauty, convenience, grandeur of thought, and quaint expression are as near to us as

and if the American artist will study with hope and love the precise thing to be done by him, to any,

considering the climate, the soil, the length of the day, the wants of the people, the habit and form of the government, he will create a house in which all these will find themselves fitted, and taste and senti

ment

will

Insist

on yourself; never

be

satisfied also.

imitate.

Your own

gift

you

can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted

you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what talent of another,

it is,

nor can,

till

that person has exhibited

it.

51

Reliance


JXeltance

Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is an unique. The Scipionism of Scipio JIf

is

precisely that part he could not borrow.

anybody

me whom

will tell

when he

imitates in the original crisis

great act,

I

will tell

him who

Do

that

which

thou canst not hope too

is

much

man

performs a

else than himself

teach him. Shakespeare will never be of Shakespeare.

the great

made

can

the study

assigned thee, and or dare too much.

There is at this moment, there is for me an utterance bare and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the

Dante, but different from

Not

pen

of

Moses, or

all these.

possibly will the soul all rich, all eloquent, with

thousand-cloven tongue, deign to repeat itself; but if I can hear what these patriarchs say, surely I can reply to them in the same pitch of voice: for the ear and the tongue are two organs of one nature. Dwell up there in the simple and noble regions of thy life,

obey thy heart, and thou world again. 52

shalt reproduce the Fore-


As

our Religion, our Education, our Art look abroad, so does our spirit of society. All men plume 4.

themselves on the improvement of society, and no

man

improves. Society never advances. side as

it

gains

on the

recedes as fast on one

It

other. Its progress

is

only

apparent, like the workers of a treadmill. It undergoes continual changes: it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is

it

christianized,

is

rich,

it

is

scientific;

change is not amelioration. For every thing that is given, something Society acquires new arts and loses old

but

is

this

taken.

instincts.

What

a contrast between the well-clad, reading, writing, thinking American, with a watch, a pencil

and a

bill of

exchange in

his pocket,

and the naked

New

Zealander, whose property is a club, a spear, a mat and an undivided twentieth of a shed to sleep under. But compare the health of the two men, and you shall see that his aboriginal strength the white

man

us truly, strike the savage with a broad axe, and in a day or two the flesh shall unite and heal as if you struck the blow

has

lost. If

into soft pitch,

the traveler

and the blow

tell

shall

send the white to 53


his grave. Reliance

bu t has

fJThe

civilized

man

has built a coach,

He

supported on crutches, but loses so much support of muscle. He has got a fine Geneva watch, but he has lost the skill

lost

the use of his feet.

A

Greenwich by the sun 55 almanac he has, and so being sure of the

to tell the hour

nautical

is

when he wants it, the man in the street know a star in the sky. The solstice he does

information

does not

not observe; the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind.

His note-books impair

his

memory;

his libraries

overload his wit; the insurance office increases the

number

and

may be

a question whether machinery does not encumber; whether we have not lost by refinement some energy, by a of

accidents;

it

and forms, some vigor of wild virtue. For every stoic was a stoic; but in Christendom where is the Christian? Christianity entrenched in establishments

tj There is

no more deviation in the moral standard

than in the standard of height or bulk. No greater men are now then ever were. singular equality may be observed between the great men of the first

A

54


and

can

of the last ages; nor

religion

and philosophy

avail to educate greater

all

the science, art,

Nineteenth Century than Plutarch's heroes,

of the

men

three or four centuries ago.

Not

in time

is

the race

progressive. Phocion, Socrates,

Anaxagoras, Diog enes, are great men, but they leave no class. He who is really of their class will not be called by

name, but be wholly the founder of a sect. their

The

his

own man, and

in turn

and inventions of each period are only costume, and do not invigorate men. The harm arts

its

of

the improved machinery

may compensate its good. Hudson and Behring accomplished so much in their

fishing-boats, as to astonish

Parry and Franklin,

whose equipment exhausted the resources of science and art. Galileo, with an opera-glass, discovered a more splendid series of facts than any one since. Columbus found the New World in an undecked boat. It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery which were intro duced with loud laudation, a few years or centuries before.

The

great genius returns to essential

man

58 55

We

^Reliance


reckoned the improvements of the

Reliance

war among the triumphs of science, and yet Napoleon conquered Europe by the Bivouac, which consisted of falling back on naked valor, and disencumbering it of all

The Emperor

aids.

held

it

art of

impossible to

make a

Las Casas, "without abolishing our arms, magazines, commissaries and carriages,

perfect army, says

until in imitation of the

Roman

custom, the soldier

should receive his supply of corn, grind hand-mill, and bake his bread himself."

it

in his

Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the only phenomenal. The persons who make up a nation to-day, next year die, and their experience with them. ridge.

Its

unity

is

And

so the reliance

come

to esteem

on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance. Men have looked away from themselves and at things so long, that they have

what they

call the soul's progress,

namely, the religious, learned, the as guards of 56

property,

civil

institutions,

and they deprecate

assaults


because they feel them to be assaults on property. They measure their esteem of each other, by what each has, and not by what each is. But a

on

these,

man becomes ashamed of his property, ashamed of what he has, out of new respect for his cultivated

being 5S 35 Especially he hates what he has,

came

accidental,

to

him by

crime; then he feels that

it

if

he see that

inheritance, or is

not having;

it is

gift, it

or

does

not belong to him, has no root in him, and merely lies there, because no revolution or no robber takes

away. But that which a man is, does always by necessity acquire, and what the man acquires is

it

permanent and living property, which does not wait the beck of rulers, or mobs, or revolutions, or fire, or storm, or bankruptcies, but perpetually renews wherever the

itself

'Thy "is

lot

man

is

put.

or portion of life," said the

seeking after

seeking after

it."

Caliph Ali, thee; therefore be at rest from

Our dependence on

these foreign

goods leads us to our slavish respect for numbers.

The

numerous conventions; the greater the concourse, and with each new uproar political parties

meet

in

57


announcement, The delegation from Essex! The Democrats from New Hampshire! The Whigs of Maine! the young patriot feels himself stronger than of

Reliance

before by a new thousand of eyes and arms. In like manner the reformers summon conventions, and vote

and resolve

God

will the

in

multitude. But

not so,

support and stands alone, that Is

He

I

see

him

all

to

external

be strong

weaker by every recruit to his not a man better than a town? Ask nothing

to prevail.

banner.

friends!

deign to enter and inhabit you, but by

a method precisely the reverse. It is only as a man puts off from himself

and

O

is

men, and in the endless mutation, thou only firm column must presently appear the upholder of all of

that surrounds thee.

He who

knows

that

power

weak only because he

is

in the soul, that

he

is

has looked for good out of

him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws him self unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, feet

man who stands on his than a man who stands on his head. is called Fortune. Most men gamble

works miracles;

is

stronger

So use 58

all

that

just as

a


with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls. But do thou leave as unlawful these winnings,

and deal with Cause and Effect, the chancellors of God. In the Will, work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance, and shalt always drag her after thee.

A

a

rise of rents, the

recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or political victory,

some other quite external event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you 35 Do not believe it. It can never be so. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself 35 Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.

59

Reliance


Here endeth

the Essay on Self-Reliance, written

by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and done into a Book by The Roycrofters, at their shop which is in East Aurora, Erie County, New York, MCMVIII.


X


*q


Ralph Waldo Emerson - The Essay on Self-Reliance, 1908  

Source: Internet Archive; Digitizing Sponsor: Microsoft; Contributor: University of California Libraries

Ralph Waldo Emerson - The Essay on Self-Reliance, 1908  

Source: Internet Archive; Digitizing Sponsor: Microsoft; Contributor: University of California Libraries

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