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Cornell University Library

PS 1600.F03a V.3

The complete works

of Ralph

Waldo Emerso

3 1924 020 761 023


\L>bO

V.3


The tine

original of

tliis

book

is in

Cornell University Library.

There are no known copyright

restrictions in

the United States on the use of the

text.

http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924020761023


Concorb €tiition

THE COMPLETE WORKS OF RALPH WALDO EMERSON WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION AND NOTES BY

EDWARD WALDO EMERSON AND A GENERAL INDEX

ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOGRAVURES

VOLUME

III


m.9.


Ralph Waldo Emerson

in

183^


\!tt.*(

Ml-

f <

y-

\\


ESSAYS BY

RALPH WALDO EMERSON SECOND

SERIES

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

1904 f^


COPYRIGHT, 1876

BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON COPYRIGHT, 1883 AND

1903,

BY

EDWARD

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

fjfi

6S^o

W. EMERSON


CONTENTS I.


LIST

OF ILLUSTRATIONS

RALPH WALDO EMERSON From

Frontispiece

a daguerreotype taken in

1859,

in the pos-

session of the family

CENTRAL PART OF CONCORD, Drawn by Downes for

J.

W.

Barber's

Barber,

"

200

1839

and engraved by

Historical Collections

"

J.


I

THE POET A

MOODY

child

and wildly wise

Pursued the game with joyful eyes.

Which chose, Kke meteors, their way. And rived the dark with private ray: They overleapt the horizon's edge. Searched with Apollo's privilege;

Through man, and woman, and

Saw

Through worlds, and

Saw

sea,

and

star

the dance of nature forward far; races,

and terms, and times

musical order, and pairing rhymes.


Olympian bards who sung Divine ideas below.

Which always

And

find us

young.

always keep us

so.


THE POET THOSE who

are esteemed umpires of taste

are often persons

knowledge of admired and have an inclination but

if

souls,

you

who have pictures for

acquired

some

or sculptures,

whatever

is

elegant

inquire whether they are beautiful

and whether

you

their

own

acts are like fair

and sensual. Their cultivation is local, as if you should rub a log of dry wood in one spot to produce Their knowfire, all the rest remaining cold. ledge of the fine arts is some study of rules and particulars, or some limited judgment of color or form, which is exercised for amusement or for show. It is a proof of the shallowness of the doctrine of beauty as it lies in the minds pictures,

learn that they are selfish

of our amateurs, that

men seem

to

have

lost the

perception of the instant dependence of form upon soul. There is no doctrine of forms in

our philosophy. as fire

is

there

is

spirit

We

were put into our bodies,

put into a pan to be carried about ; but no accurate adjustment between the

and the organ, much

less is the latter the

germination of the former. So in regard to other forms, the intellectual

men do

not beheve in


THE POET

4

dependence of the material world on thought and volition. Theologians think it

any

essential

a pretty air-castle to talk of the spiritual

mean-

ing of a ship or a cloud, of a city or a contract,

but they prefer to come again to the solid ground

of

evidence

historical

contented with a living,

and

civil

and even the poets are and conformed manner of ;

poems from the fancy, at a from their own experience.' But

to write

safe distance

the highest minds of the world

have never

ceased to explore the double meaning, or shall I

say the quadruple or the centuple or

more manifold meaning, of every sensuous

much fact;

^

Orpheus, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Plato, Plutarch, Dante, Swedenborg, and the masters of sculpture, picture

and poetry.

For we

are not

pans and barrows, nor even porters of the

fire

and torch-bearers, but children of the fire, made of it, and only the same divinity transmuted and least

two or three removes, when we know about it.' And this hidden truth, that the

at

fountains whence

all this

river of

Time and

its

creatures floweth are intrinsically ideal

and beaudraws us to the consideration of the nature and functions of the Poet, or the man of Beauty tiful,

;

to the

means and materials he

uses,

and

to the

general aspect of the art in the present time.


THE POET The

5

breadth of the problem

is

great, for the

poet

is

representative.

He stands among partial

men

for the complete

man, and apprises us not

common wealth. The men of genius, because, to

of his wealth, but of the

young man

reveres

speak truly, they are more himself than he

They

is.

receive of the soul as he also receives,

but they more.

Nature enhances her beauty, to the eye of loving men, from their belief that the poet is beholding her shows at the same time. He is isolated among his contemporaries by truth and by his art, but with this consolation in his pursuits, that they will draw all men sooner or later. For all men live by truth and stand in need of expression. In love, in art, in avarice, in politics, in labor, in

games, we study

to utter our painful secret.

The man

half himself, the other half

his expression.

Notwithstanding

this

is

is

only

be pub-

necessity to

know not

lished, adequate expression

is

how

interpreter, but the

it

is

that

we need an

great majority of

men seem

rare.

I

to be minors,

who

have not yet come into possession of their own, or mutes,

who cannot

report the conversation

they have had with nature.

who

There

is

no man

does not anticipate a supersensual utihty

in the

sun and

stars, earth

and water. These


THE POET

6

stand and wait to render him a peculiar service.

But there

is

of phlegm suffer fall

us

them

in

some obstruction or some

excess

our constitution, which does not

to yield the

due

Too

effect.

feeble

make

the impressions of nature on us to artists.

man should

Every touch should be so

much an

thrill.'

Every

he could

artist that

report in conversation what had befallen him.

Yet, in our experience, the rays or appulses have sufficient force to arrive at the senses,

enough

to reach the quick

and compel the

The

production of themselves in speech. is

the person in

whom

but not re-

poet

these powers are in bal-

ance,^ the man without impediment, who sees and handles that which others dream of, traverses the whole scale of experience, and is representative of man, in virtue of being the largest power to receive and to impart. For the Universe has three children, born at one time, which reappear under different names in every system of thought, whether they

be called cause, operation and poetically, Jove, Pluto,

effect

Neptune

;

;

or,

more

or, theologi-

and the Son; but which we will call here the Knower, the Doer and the Sayer. These stand respectively for the cally, the Father, the Spirit

love of truth, for the love of good, and for


THE POET

7

the love of beauty. These three are equal. Each is

that which he

is,

essentially, so that he

cannot

be surmounted or analyzed, and each of these three has the

power of the others

and

patent.'

his

The

own, poet

him

the sayer, the namer, and repre-

is

sents beauty.

latent in

He

is

a sovereign,

and stands on

For the world is not painted or is from the beginning beautiful and God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the creator of the universe. There-

the centre.

adorned, but

fore the poet

but

is

is

emperor

not any permissive potentate,

in his

own

right.'

Criticism

is

infested with a cant of materialism, which as-

sumes that manual skill and activity is the first merit of all men, and disparages such as say and do not, overlooking the fact that some men, namely poets, are natural sayers, sent into the world to the end of expression, and confounds them with those whose province is action but who quit it to imitate the sayers. But Homer's words are as

as costly

Agamemnon's

The

and admirable to

victories are to

Homer

Agamemnon.

poet does not wait for the hero or the sage,

and think primarily, so he writes and must be spoken, reckprimarily what oning the others, though primaries also, yet. but, as they act

will


THE POET

8

in respect to him, secondaries sitters

and servants

;

as

or models in the studio of a painter, or

as assistants

who

bring building-materials to an

architect.

For poetry was and whenever we

we

written before time was,

can penetrate into that region where the music,'

is

all

are so finely organized that air

we hear those primal warblings and

attempt to write them down, but we lose ever

and anon

a

word or

a verse

and substitute some-

thing of our own, and thus miswrite the poem.'

The men

of more delicate ear write

down

these

cadences more faithfully, and these transcripts,

though imperfect, become the songs of the na-

For nature

tions.

is

as truly beautiful as

it is

must as much appear as it must be done, or be known. Words and deeds are quite indifferent modes of the divine energy. Words are also actions, and actions are good, or as

a

it

is

reasonable, and

kind of words.

The

sign and credentials of the poet are that

he announces that which no is

the true and only doctor

he

is

;

man

foretold.

he knows and

He tells

the only teller of news, for he was present

and privy to the appearance which he describes. He is a beholder of ideas and an utterer of the necessary and causal. For we do not speak now


THE POET of men of poetical skill in

9

of industry and

talents, or

metre, but of the true poet.

in a conversation the other

cent writer of lyrics, a

man

I

took part

day concerning a

head appeared to be a music-box of tunes and rhythms, and whose

mand of praise.

re-

of subtle mind, whose

skill

delicate

and com-

language we could not sufficiently

But when the question arose whether he lyrist but a poet, we were obliged

was not only a

to confess that he

is

an eternal man.'

He

plainly a contemporary, not

does not stand out of our

low limitations, like a Chimborazo under the line,

running up from a torrid base through

all

the climates of the globe, with belts of the herb-

age of every latitude on sides

;

but

this genius

its

is

high and mottled

the landscape-garden

of a modern house, adorned with fountains and statues, with well-bred

men and women

stand-

ing and sitting in the walks and terraces. hear, through

all

tone of conventional talents

who

sing,

The argument verses

is

life.

Our

poets are

men

of

and not the children of music. secondary, the finish of the

primary.

For argument it

is

We

the varied music, the ground-

is

not metres, but a metre-making

that

makes

a

poem,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

a

thought so

passionate and alive that like the spirit of a plant


THE POET

10

or an animal

and

has an architecture of

it

new

nature with a

adorns

Its

own,

The

thing.

thought and the form are equal in the order of time, but in the order of genesis the thought

The poet

prior to the form."

has a

he has a whole new experience to unfold us

will tell

how

it

was with him, and

be the richer in his fortune.

is

new thought all

;

he

men will

For the experience

of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for

its

poet,

I

remember when I was young how much I was moved one morning by tidings that genius had appeared in a youth

He

had

knew

tell

was therein told

;

was changed,

and lous

sat near

me

at table.

whither, and had written hundreds of lines,

but could not

all

who

work and gone rambling none

left his

sea. !

How

whether that which was he could

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; man,

gladly

we

tell

in

him

nothing but that

beast, heaven, earth

listened

!

how

credu-

Society seemed to be compromised.

We

sat in the aurora

of a sunrise which was to put

out

Boston seemed to be

all

the stars.

the distance

it

at twice

had the night before, or was much

farther than that.

Rome,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; what was

Rome?

Plutarch and Shakspeare were in the yellow

and

Homer

much

to

no more should be heard

know that

of.

leaf,

It is

poetry has been written this


THE POET

II

very day, under this very roof, by your side.

What

that wonderful spirit has not expired

!

!

These stony moments are still sparkling and animated I had fancied that the oracles were !

all

and nature had spent her

silent,

behold

all

!

night,

;

and

from every pore, these

fine

fires

Every one has some interest in the advent of the poet, and no one knows how much it may concern him. We

auroras have been streaming.

know that the secret of the world is profound, but who or what shall be our interpreter, we know not. A mountain ramble, a new style of face, a new person, may put the key into our

Of

hands.

course the value of genius to us

in the veracity

and juggle in

good

;

of

its

report.

Talent

genius realizes and adds.

is

may frolic Mankind

earnest have availed so far in under-

standing themselves and their work, that the

foremost watchman on the peak announces his news.. It

is

word ever spoken, and be the fittest, most musical, and

the truest

the phrase will

the unerring voice of the world for that time.

All that we birth of a poet logy.'

call is

sacred history attests that the

the principal event in chrono-

Man, never so often deceived, still watches who can hold him he has made it his own. to a truth until

for the arrival of a brother

steady


THE POET

12

With what joy

confide in as an inspiration are to be

poem which I And now my chains mount above these

begin to read a

I

broken

I

;

clouds and opaque

!

shall

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; opaque, â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and from

which

airs in

I live,

though they seem transparent,

the

and comprehend my relations. That will reconcile me to life and renovate nature, to see trifles animated by a tendency, and to know what I am doing. Life will no more be a noise now I shall see men and women, and know the signs by which they may be discerned from fools and satans. This heaven of truth

see

shall

I

;

day

shall

be better than

became an animal; now science of the real. Such fruition

is

postponed.

winged man, who

my I

birthday

am

is

then

it falls

me into

me into mists, then leaps and me as it were from cloud to

that this

the heaven,

whirls

frisks

with

cloud,

affirming that he

is

bound heavenward

being myself a novice, that he does not

and

is

know

am

the

merely bent that

skill to rise

way from

;

about still

and

I,

slow in perceiving

way I

I

the hope, but the

Oftener

will carry

:

invited into the

into the heavens,

should admire his

like a fowl or a flying fish, a little

ground or the water but the alland ocular air of heaven that man shall never inhabit. I tumble down the

piercing, all-feeding

;


THE POET again soon into

my

of exaggerations

old nooks, and lead the

thither

where

and have

as before,

faith in the possibility

me

I

13

of any gilide

would

who

lost

be.

new hope, observe how

nature,

let us,

by worthier

impulses, has insured the poet's fidelity to office

my

can lead

But, leaving these victims of vanity, with

life

his

of announcement and affirming, namely

by the beauty of things, which becomes a new and higher beauty when expressed.' Nature offers all her creatures to him as a picture-language. Being used as a type, a second wonderful

value appears in the object, far better than

its

old value

;

as the carpenter's stretched cord,

you hold your ear close enough, is musical in the breeze. " Things more excellent than every if

image," says Jamblichus,^ "are expressed through

Things admit of being used

images."

bols because nature

and

is

without

its spirit

of character ;

sym-

Every line we can draw in and there is no body or genius. All form is an effect

in every part.

the sand has expression

life

as

a symbol, in the whole,

all

;

all

;

condition, of the quality of the

harmony, of health

;

and

for this rea-

son a perception of beauty should be sympathetic, or tiful rests

proper only to the good.

The

beau-

on the foundations of the necessary.


THE POET

14

The

teaches

:

as the wise

makes the body,

soul

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

"So

every

spirit, as it is

And

hath in

So

the fairer

it

To

habit in,

With

it

the

Here we

light.

body doth procure

and

it

more

fairly dight.

and amiable

For, of the soul, the is

more pure.

more of heavenly

cheerful grace

For soul

Spenser

sight.

body form doth

take.

form, and doth the body make."

find ourselves suddenly not in a criti-

cal speculation

but In a holy place, and should

go very warily and reverently. We stand before the secret of the world, there where Being passes into

Appearance and Unity into Variety. is the externization of the

The Universe Wherever

the

life is,

soul.

that bursts into appearance

Our science is sensual, and therefore superficial. The earth and the heavenly bodies, physics and chemistry, we sensually treat, as if around

it.

they were self-existent

;

but these are the retinue

of that Being we have. " The mighty heaven," said Proclus,'' " exhibits, in its transfigurations, clear

images

perceptions

;

of the being

splendor

moved

of intellectual

in conjunction with

the unapparent periods of intellectual natures."

Therefore science always goes abreast with the just elevation of the

man, keeping step with


THE POET and metaphysics

religion

15

or the state of science

;

an index of our self-knowledge. Since every thing in nature answers to a moral power, if any

is

phenomenon remains brute and dark it is because the corresponding faculty in the observer is not yet active.

No that

wonder then, if these waters be so deep, we hover over them with a religious regard.

The

beauty of the fable proves the importance

of the sense if

you

;

to the poet,

please, every

man

and to is

all

others

;

or,

so far a poet as to

be susceptible of these enchantments of nature for

men have

all

universe

is

the

thoughts whereof the

the celebration.

I

find that the fas-

Who

cination resides in the symbol.

ture?

Who does not?

Is

it

;

loves na-

only poets, and

of leisure and cultivation, who

No

;

live

men

with her?

but also hunters, farmers, grooms and butch-

though they express their affection in their choice of life and not in their choice of words. The writer wonders what the coachman or the hunter values in riding, in horses and dogs. It ers,

is

not superficial qualities.

him he holds His worship nitions,

living

When

you

talk with

these at as slight a rate as you. is

but he

sympathetic; he has no defiis

commanded

power which he

feels to

in nature

by the

be there present.

i

1


THE POET

i6

No

would

imitation or playing of these things

content him

;

he loves the earnest of the north

wind, of rain, of stone and

beauty not explicable

is

wood and

iron."

A

dearer than a beauty

which we can see to the end

of.

It

is

nature

the symbol, nature certifying the supernatural,

body overflowed by coarse but sincere

The

life

which he worships with

rites.

inwardness and mystery of this attach-

drive men of every class to the use of emblems. The schools of poets and philoso-

ment

phers are not more intoxicated with their symthan the populace with

bols

political parties,

theirs.

In our

compute the power of badges

and emblems. See the great ball which they roll from Baltimore to Bunker Hill ^ In the polit!

ical

processions, Lowell goes in a loom,

Lynn

in a shoe,

and Salem

in a ship.

and

Witness

the cider-barrel, the log-cabin, the hickory-stick, the palmetto, and

all

the cognizances of party.

See the power of national emblems. lilies,

Some

stars,

leopards, a crescent, a lion, an eagle, or

other figure which came into credit

God knows

how, on an old rag of bunting, blowing in the wind on a fort at the ends of the earth, shall make the blood tingle under the rudest or the most conventional exterior. The people fancy


THE POET

17

they hate poetry, and they are

all

poets and

mystics

Beyond

this universality

of the symbolic lan-

guage, we are apprised of the divineness of this superior use of things, whereby the world

is

a

temple whose walls are covered with emblems, pictures and

commandments of

in this, that there

is

no

fact in

the Deity,

nature which does

not carry the whole sense of nature distinctions affairs,

which we make

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

;

in events

and the and

in

of low and high, honest and base, disap-

when nature is used as a symbol. Thought makes everything fit for use. The vocabulary of an omniscient man would embrace words pear

and images excluded from polite conversation. What would be base, or even obscene, to the obscene, becomes illustrious, spoken in a new

The

connection of thought.

HeThe cir-

piety of the

brew prophets purges their grossness. cumcision is an example of the power of poetry to raise the low and offensive. Small and mean things serve as well as great symbols.

The

meaner the type by which a law is expressed, the more pungent it is, and the more lasting in the memories of men just as we choose the smallest box or case in which any needful utenBare lists of words are found sil can be carried. ;


THE POET

1

and excited mind as related of Lord Chatham that he was accustomed to read in Bailey's Dictionary when suggestive to an imaginative it

is

he was preparing to speak poorest experience

is

rich

enough

purposes of expressing thought.

knowledge of new and garden,

facts

?

The

in Parliament.

for all

Why

Day and

the

covet a

night, house

a few books, a few actions, serve us

would all trades and all spectacles. from having exhausted the signiWe can ficance of the few symbols we use. come to use them yet with a terrible simplicity. as well as

We

are far

It does

not need that a

poem should be

long.

Every word was once a poem. Every new relais a new word. Also we use defects and de-

tion

formities to a sacred purpose, so expressing our

sense that the evils of the world are such only to the evil eye.'

In the old mythology, mytho-

logists observe, defects are

natures, as

Cupid, and the

For

as

ascribed to divine

lameness to Vulcan, blindness to

it is

like,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

to signify exuberances.

dislocation

God

and detachment from

makes things ugly, the poet, and the Whole, re-attaching even artificial things and violation of nature, to nature, by a deeper insight, disposes very easily of the most disagreeable the

life

who

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

of

that

re-attaches things to nature


THE POET facts.

19

Readers of poetry see the factory -village

and the

and fancy that the poetry of

railway,

the landscape

is

broken up by these

works of

art are

reading

but the poet sees them

;

for these

;

not yet consecrated in their fall

within the

great Order not less than the beehive or the spider's geometrical web.

Nature adopts them

and the gliding

very

fast into

train

of cars she loves like her own.'

in a centred

her vital

mind,

circles,

signifies

it

Besides,

how many Though you

nothing

mechanical inventions you exhibit.

add millions, and never so surprising, the

fact

of mechanics has not gained a grain's weight.

The

spiritual fact

remains unalterable, by

or by few particulars

;

as

no mountain

is

many

of any

appreciable height to break the curve of the sphere. for the

A shrewd first

country-boy goes to the

city

time, and the complacent citizen

not satisfied with his that he does not see

all

little

wonder.

It

the fine houses and

is

is

not

know

that he never saw such before, but he disposes

of them as easily as the poet finds place for the railway.

The

chief value of the

enhance the great and constant

new

fact is

fact

to

of Life,

which can dwarf any and every circumstance,

and to which the belt of wampum and the commerce of America are alike.


THE POET

20

The

world being thus put under the mind

who

for verb

and noun, the poet

ulate

For though life is great, and fascinates and though all men are intelligent

it.

and absorbs

is

he

can artic-

;

of the symbols through which

it is

named

We

;

yet

symbols and inhabit symbols workmen, work, and tools, words and things, birth and death, all are emblems but we sympathize with the symbols, and being infatuated with the economical uses of things, we do not know that they are thoughts. The poet, by an ulterior intellectual perception, gives them a power which makes their old use forgotten, and puts eyes and a tongue into every dumb and inanimate object. He perceives the independence of the thought on the symbol, they cannot originally use them.

are

;

;

the stability of the thought, the accidency and. fugacity of the symbol.

As

the eyes of Lyncseus

were said to see through the earth, so the poet turns the world to glass, and shows us in their right series

all

things

and procession. For through

that better perception he stands

one step nearer and sees the flowing or metamorphosis perceives that thought is multiform that within the form of every creature is a force impelHng it to ascend into a higher form and to things, ;

;

;

following with his eyes the

life,

uses the forms


THE POET which express that

life,

21

and so

with the flowing of nature.

speech flows

his

All the facts of the

animal economy, sex, nutriment, gestation, birth, growth, are symbols of the passage of the world

man, to suflfer there a change and reappear a new and higher fact. He uses forms according to the life, and not according to the form. This is true science. The poet alone knows astronomy, chemistry, vegetation and animation, for he does not stop at these facts, but employs them as signs. He knows

into the soul of

why

meadow of

the plain or

with these flowers stars

;

why

we

call

the great deep

mals, with men, and gods

space was strown

moons and

suns and is

adorned with anifor in every

;

word

he speaks he rides on them as the horses of thought.'

By

virtue of this science the poet

is

the

Namer

or Language-maker, naming things sometimes after their appearance,

sence,

and

and giving

one

after their es-

its

own name

not another's, thereby rejoicing the intellect,

which delights poets is

sometimes

to every

made

all

in

detachment or boundary.

The

the words, and therefore language

the archives of history, and,

a sort of

tomb of

origin of

most of our words

we must say it, For though the

if

the muses. is

forgotten, each


THE POET

22

word was

at first a stroke

currency because for the the world to the

The

first

of genius, and obtained

moment

symbolized

speaker and to the hearer.'

etymologist finds the deadest word to have

!been once a brilliant picture.

As

poetry.

sil

it

Language

is

fos-

the limestone of the continent

consists of infinite masses of the shells of ani-

malcules, so language

is

made up of images

or

tropes, which now, in their secondary use, have

long ceased to remind us of their poetic origin.

But the poet names the thing because he sees it, or comes one step nearer to it than any other. This expression or naming is not art, but a second nature, grown out of the first, as a leaf out of a tree. What we call nature is a certain self-regulated motion or change " and nature does all things by her own hands, and does not ;

leave another to baptize her but baptizes herself; I

and

this

remember

me

thus

:

Genius

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; is

through the metamorphosis again.

that a certain

poet described

it

to

the activity which repairs the decays

of things, whether wholly or partly of a material

and

finite

kind.

Nature, through

all

her king-

doms, insures herself Nobody cares for planting the poor fungus so she shakes down from ;


THE POET the

gills

23

of one agaric countless spores, any one

of which, being preserved, transmits new

bil-

to-morrow or next day. The hour has a chance which the old one had not. This atom of seed is thrown

lions of spores

new

agaric of this

into a

new

place, not subject to the accidents

which destroyed

makes

a

man

;

its parent two rods off. She and having brought him to ripe

no longer run the risk of losing wonder at a blow, but she detaches from him a new self, that the kind may be safe from age, she will

this

accidents to which the individual

when

the soul of the poet has

is

exposed. So

come

to ripeness

of thought, she detaches and sends away from it

its

poems

or songs,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

deathless progeny, which accidents of the weary less,

a fearless,

is

sleepless,

not exposed to the

kingdom of time

;

a fear-

vivacious offspring, clad with wings (such

was the virtue of the soul out of which they came) which carry them fast and far, and infix

them irrecoverably into the hearts of men.' These wings are the beauty of the poet's soul. The songs, thus flying immortal from their mortal

parent, are pursued

censures, which

swarm

by clamorous in far greater

and threaten to devour them not winged. At the end of

;

flights

of

numbers

but these

last are

a very short

leap


THE POET

24 they

plump down and

fall

rot,

having received

from the souls out of which they came no beauti-

But the melodies of the poet ascend and leap and pierce into the deeps of infinite time. ful wings.

So

far

the bard taught me, using his freer

But nature has

speech.

a higher end, in the

production of new individuals, than security,

namely

ascension, or the passage I knew who made the

my

of the soul into

younger days the youth which

higher forms.

in

sculptor

statue of the

stands in the public garden.

He

was, as I re-

member, unable to tell directly what made him happy or unhappy, but by wonderful indirections he could

tell.

He

rose one day, according to

his habit, before the

dawn, and saw the morning

break, grand as the eternity out of which

and

for

many

days

this tranquillity,

and

after,

lo

!

it

came,

he strove to express

his chisel

had fashioned

out of marble the form of a beautiful youth.

Phosphorus, whose aspect

who look on

is

such that

it is

said

become silent.' The poet also resigns himself to his mood, and that thought which agitated him is expressed, but alter idem, in a manner totally new. The expression is organic, or the new type which things themselves take when liberated. As, in the all

persons

it


THE POET

,

25

sun, objects paint their images on the retina of

the eye, so they, sharing the aspiration of the

whole universe, tend cate

to paint a far

more deH-

copy of their essence in his mind.

Like

the metamorphosis of things into higher organic forms

is

change into melodies. Over

their

everything stands

daemon or

its

soul, and, as

by the eye, so the soul of the thing is reflected by a melody. The sea, the mountain-ridge, Niagara, and every

the form of the thing

is

reflected

flower-bed, pre-exist, or super-exist, in pre-cantations,

which

sail

like odors

the

in

when any man goes by with an ear fine,

air,

and

sufficiently

he overhears them and endeavors to write

down them.'

the notes without diluting or depraving

And

herein

the legitimation of

is

cism, in the mind's faith that the

poems

criti-

are a

corrupt version of some text in nature with

which they ought to be made to tally. in one of our sonnets should not be

A rhyme less pleas-

ing than the iterated nodes of a seashell, or the

resembling difference of a group of flowers. pairing of the birds

our idyls are

;

an

is

a tempest

out falsehood or rant

;

a

is

idyl,

not tedious as

a rough ode, with-

summer, with

vest sown, reaped and stored,

subordinating

The

is

its

har-

an epic song,

how many admirably

executed


THE POET

26

Why sljould

parts.

not the symmetry and truth

that modulate these, glide into our spirits, and

we

participate the invention of nature

This is

which expresses

insight,

called Imagination,

?

itself

by what

a very high sort of see-

is

which does not come by study, but by the

ing,

being where and what

intellect

it

sees

;

by shar-

ing the path or circuit of things through forms,

and so making them translucid path of things

suffer their

;

a lover, a poet,

own

nature,

A

?

is

The

Will they suffer a

silent.

is

speaker to go with them

to others.'

spy they

will

not

the transcendency of

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; him they

will suffer.

The

condition of true naming, on the poet's part, his resigning himself to the divine

is

aura which

breathes through forms, and accompanying that. It

a secret

is

which every

intellectual

man

quickly learns, that beyond the energy of his

possessed and conscious intellect he

of a new energy itself),

(as

of an

by abandonment

intellect

capable

is

doubled on

to the nature of things

;

power as an individual great public power on which he

that beside his privacy of

man, there

is

a

can draw, by unlocking, at

all

risks, his

human

doors, and suffering the ethereal tides to roll and circulate

the

life

through him

;

then he

is

caught up into

of the Universe, his speech

is

thunder,


THE POET his

thought

is

law,

and

intelligible as the plants

knows

his

27

words

are universally

and animals. The poet

that he speaks adequately then only

when

he speaks somewhat wildly, or " with the flower of the mind " not with the intellect used as an ;

organ, but with the intellect released from

and suffered

service

its celestial life

;

to take

its

direction

all

from

wont

or as the ancients were

to

express themselves, not with intellect alone but

As

with the intellect inebriated by nectar.

who

traveller

on

his horse's

has lost his

way throws

the

his reins

neck and trusts to the instinct of

the animal to find his road, so must the divine animal

who

carries us

we do with

through

this

if in any manner we can stimulate new passages are opened for us into nature the mind flows into and through things hardest and highest, and the metamorphosis is

For

world.

this instinct, ;

possible.

This

is

the reason

why

bards love wine, mead,

opium, the fumes of sandalor whatever other procurers wood and tobacco, narcotics, coffee, tea,

of animal exhilaration. All

men

avail

of such means as they can, to add

themselves

this extraor-

dinary power to their normal powers this

end they prize conversation, music,

;

and

to

pictures,

sculpture, dancing, theatres, travelling, war, mobs.


THE POET

28

gaming,

fires,

politics,

animal intoxication,

or love, or science, or

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which

are several coarser

or finer guasi-mecha.nica.1 substitutes for the true

which

nectar,

is

the ravishment of the intellect

by coming nearer iliaries

These

to the fact."

to the centrifugal tendency of a

his passage out into free space,

him he

to escape the custody of that

is

are aux-

man,

and they help body in which

pent up, and of that jail-yard of individual

relations in

which he

number of such

as

is

Hence

enclosed.

a great

were professionally express-

ers of Beauty, as painters, poets, musicians actors,

a

life

few

to

and

have been more than others wont to lead of pleasure and indulgence;

who

a spurious

mode of

all

but the

and, as

it

was

attaining freedom, as

it

was

received the true nectar

;

an emancipation not into the heavens but into the freedom of baser places, they were punished

won, by a dissipation and deterioration. But never can any advantage for that advantage they

be taket^ of nature by a

trick.

The spirit

of the

world, the great calm presence of the Creator,

comes not forth wine.

The

to the sorceries of

opium

or of

sublime vision comes to the pure

and simple soul in a clean and chaste body. That is not an inspiration, which we owe to narcotics,

but some counterfeit excitement and fury.


THE POET Milton says and

that the lyric poet

may

drink wine

but the epic poet, he

live generously,

shall sing of the

29

who

gods and their descent unto

men, must drink water out of a wooden bowl.' For poetry is not Devil's wine,' but God's '

We

fill

the hands and nurseries of our children with

all

wine.

It is

manner of

with this as

it is

with toys.

drums and horses

dolls,

;

withdraw-

ing their eyes from the plain face and sufficing objects of nature, the sun

and moon, the animals,

the water and stones, which should be their toys.

So the poet's habit of living should be set on a key so low that the common influences should delight him. His cheerfulness should be the gift

of the sunlight; the

his

inspiration,

water.

That

which seems

air

should

suffice for

and he should be tipsy with

spirit

which

come

quiet hearts,

suffices

from every from every pine stump and half-imbedded stone on which the dull March sun shines, comes forth to the poor and to

forth to such

dry" knoll of sere grass,

hungry, and such fill

as are

of simple

thy brain with Boston and

taste.

New

If thou

York, with

fashion and covetousness, and wilt stimulate thy

jaded senses with wine and French shalt find

no radiance of wisdom

waste of the pine woods.

coffee,

thou

in the lonely


THE POET

30

If the imagination intoxicates the poet,

is

The metamorphosis The

not inactive in other men. excites in the beholder

it

an emotion of joy.

use of symbols has a certain power of emancipation and exhilaration for

men.

all

We

seem

to be touched by a wand which makes us dance and run about happily, like children. We are like persons who come out of a cave or cellar into the open air. This is the effect on us of tropes, fables, oracles and all poetic forms. Poets are

Men

thus Hberating gods."

new

sense,

and found within

world, or nest of worlds sis

world another

the

metamorpho-

for,

;

once seen, we divine that

now

have really got a their

it

does not stop.

I

how much

this makes the charm of algebra and the mathematics, which will

not

also

have their tropes, but

nition

as

;

consider

when

it is felt

in every, defi-

Aristotle defines space to be

an immovable vessel in which things are contained

;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

or

flowing point

;

defines a line to be a

or figure to be a

bound of solid

What a joyful sense of freehave when Vitruvius announces the old

and many the

dom we

when Plato

opinion of

like.

artists that

no architect can build any

house well who does not know something of anatomy. When Socrates, in Charmides, tells us that the soul

is

cured of

its

maladies by certain


THE POET

31

and that these incantations

incantations,

reasons, from which temperance

tiful

in souls

;

when Plato

and Timaeus mals

;

is

generated

the world an animal,

affirms that the plants also are ani-

or affirms a

growing with

calls

are beau-

man

his root,

to be a heavenly tree,

which

is

his head,

upward;

and, as George Chapman, following him, writes, •'

So

in our tree of

Springs in his top

man, whose nervie root ;

"

'

when Orpheus speaks of hoarinessas "

that white

flower which marks extreme old age

;

Proclus lect

calls

when Chaucer,

;

when

"

the universe the statue of the intelin his praise of ' Gentilesse,'

compares good blood in mean condition to fire, which, though carried to the darkest house betwixt this and the

hold if

its

mount of Caucasus,

natural office and burn as bright as

twenty thousand men did

John

will yet

it

behold;^ when

saw, in the Apocalypse, the ruin of the

world through

evil,

and the

stars fall

from heaven

as the fig tree casteth her untimely fruit

;

when

iEsop reports the whole catalogue of common daily relations through the masquerade of birds

and beasts

— we take

;

the cheerful hint of the

immortality of our essence and

and

escapes, as

selves " die."

it is

when

in vain to

its

versatile habit

the gypsies say of them-

hang them, they cannot


THE POET

32

The

The

poets are thus liberating gods.

ancient British bards had for the order, "

Those who

world."

They

are free

are free,

and they make

imaginative book renders us at first,

when we

sense of the author."

I

free.

much more

by stimulating us through

than afterward

of their

title

throughout the

arrive

An

service

its

tropes,

at the

precise

think nothing

is

of any

value in books excepting the transcendental and extraordinary.

away by

his

If a

man

is

inflamed and carried

thought, to that degree that

he

and the public and heeds only this one dream which holds him like an insanity, let me read his paper, and you may have all the arguments and histories and critiforgets the authors

cism.

All the value which attaches to Pytha-

goras, Paracelsus, Cornelius Agrippa, Cardan,

Kepler, Swedenborg, Schelling, Oken, or any

other

who

introduces questionable facts into his

cosmogony,

as angels, devils, magic, astrology,

palmistry, mesmerism, and so on,

is

the

certifi-

we have of departure from routine, and that here is a new witness. That also is the best succate

cess in conversation, the

magic of

liberty,

puts the world like a ball in our hands.

cheap even the liberty then seems study,

;

which

How

how mean

when an emotion communicates

to

to the


THE POET intellect the

how

power

33

and upheave nature

to sap

great the perspective

!

nations, times, sys-

tems, enter and disappear like threads in tapestry

of large figure and many colors

;

dream

delivers

us to dream, and while the drunkenness

lasts

we

reli-

will sell

our bed, our philosophy, our

gion, in our opulence.

There

is

good reason why we should

The

this liberation.

who, blinded and

fate

prize

of the poor shepherd,

lost in the

snow-storm, perishes

in a drift within a few feet of his cottage door,

an emblem of the state of man. of the waters of dying.

The

life

and

truth,

we

On

is

the brink

are miserably

inaccessibleness of every thought

but that we are

What

you come near to it you are as remote when you are nearest as when you are farthest. Every thought is also a prison every heaven is also a prison. Therefore we love the poet, the inin. Is

wonderful.

if

;

;

ventor, in

who

in

any form, whether

in an

ode or

an action or in looks and behavior, has yielded

us a new thought.

admits us to a

new

He

unlocks our chains and

scene.'

This emancipation is dear to all men, and the power to impart it, as It must come from greater depth and scope of thought, Is a measure of intellect. Therefore all books of the imagination


THE POET

34

endure,

all

which ascend to thdt truth that the

and uses it as Every verse or sentence possesswill take care of its own immor-

writer sees nature beneath him, his

exponent.

ing this virtue tality.

The

rehgions of the world are the ejacu-

lations of a few imaginative

men.

But the quality of the imagination is to flow, and not to freeze. The poet did not stop at the color or the form, but read their meaning

may he

neither

rest in

this

meaning, but he

makes the same objects exponents of his new Here is the difference betwixt the poet and the mystic, that the last nails a symthought.

bol

'

to

one sense, which was a true sense for a

moment, but soon becomes old and all

symbols are fluxional

ular

and

transitive,

and

;

is

all

language

good, as

For

false. is

vehic-

ferries

and

horses are, for conveyance, not as farms and

houses

homestead.

Mysticism consists in the mistake of an accidental and individual symbol for an universal one. The morningare, for

redness happens to be the favorite meteor to the eyes of Jacob to

him

for truth

should stand for reader.

But the

Behmen, and comes and faith and, he the same realities

first

;

to stand believes,

to

every

reader prefers as naturally

the symbol of a mother and child, or a gardener


THE POET and

35

bulb, or a jeweller polishing a gem.

his

Either of these, or of a myriad more, are equally

good to the person to whom they are significant. Only they must be held lightly, and be very willingly translated into

And

which others use. steadily told,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

the equivalent terms

the mystic must be

All that you say

just as true

is

without the tedious use of that symbol it.

Let us have

trite rhetoric,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

village symbols,

The all

as

with

of this

a little algebra, instead

universal signs, instead of these

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and we

shall

both be gainers.

show that making the sym-

history of hierarchies seems to

religious error consisted in

bol too stark and solid, and was at last nothing

but an excess of the organ of language.

Swedenborg, of

all

men

in

the recent ages,

stands eminently for the translator of nature into

thought.

whom

I

do not know the man

things

in history to

stood so uniformly for words.

Before him the metamorphosis continually plays.

Everything on which

his

eye

impulses of moral nature. grapes whilst he eats them.

rests,

The

obeys the

figs

become

When some

of his

angels affirmed a truth, the laurel twig which

they held blossomed

which

at a distance

in their hands.

The

noise

appeared like gnashing and

thumping, on coming nearer was found

to

be


THE POET

36

the voice of disputants.

The men

visions, seen in heavenly

dragons, and seemed in darkness

in

one of

his

appeared like

light,

;

but to each

other they appeared as men, and when the light from heaven shone into their cabin, they complained of the darkness, and were compelled to

shut the window that they might see.

There was

this perception in

him which makes

the poet or seer an object of awe and terror,

namely

same man or

that the

may wear one

men

aspect to themselves and their

companions, and telligences.

society of

a different aspect to

higher in-

Certain priests, whom he describes as

conversing very learnedly together, appeared to the children

horses

;

who were

at

some

distance, like dead

and many the like misappearances.

instantly the

mind

And

inquires whether these fishes

under the bridge, yonder oxen

in the pasture,

those dogs in the yard, are immutably fishes,

oxen and dogs, or only so appear to me, and perchance to themselves appear upright men;

and whether

I

appear as a

The Brahmins and

man

to

same question, and

if

eyes.

any poet has witnessed

the transformation he doubtless found

mony

all

Pythagoras propounded the

with various experiences.

We

it

in har-

have

all

seen changes as considerable in wheat and cater-


THE POET pillars.

He

is

37

the poet and shall draw us with

love and terror,

who

sees

through the flowing

vest the firm nature, and can declare I

We

look in vain for the poet

do not with

whom

it.'

I

describe.

sufficient plainness or sufficient

profoundness address ourselves to

life,

nor dare

we chaunt our own times and social circumstance. If we filled the day with bravery, we should not shrink from celebrating it. Time and nature yield us many gifts, but not yet the timely man, the new religion, the reconciler, whom all things await.

Dante's praise

is

that he dared to

write his autobiography in colossal cipher, or into universality. in

We

have yet had no genius

America, with tyrannous eye, which knew the

value of our incomparable materials, and saw, in the barbarism and materialism of the times, an-

other carnival of the same gods whose picture he

much admires in Homer then in the Middle Age then in Calvinism. Banks and tariflFs, the so

;

;

newspaper and caucus, Methodism and Unitarianism, are flat and dull to dull people, but rest on the same foundations of wonder as the town of

Troy and

the temple of Delphi, and are as swiftly

passing away.

Our

their politics, our fisheries,

dians, our boats

stumps and our Negroes and In-

log-rolling, our

and our repudiations, the wrath


THE POET

38

of rogues and the pusillanimity of honest men, the northern trade, the southern planting, the

western clearing, Oregon and Texas, are yet

Yet America is a poem in our eyes ample geography dazzles the imagination,

unsung. its

and

it

will

not wait long for metres.

If I have

not found that excellent combination of

my

countrymen which

I

seek, neither could

aid myself to fix the idea of the poet

ing

now and then

five centuries

more than

gifts in I

by read-

Chalmers's collection of

in

These

of English poets.

are wits

though there have been poets among them. But when we adhere to the ideal of the poet, we have our difficulties even with Milton and Homer. Milton is too literary and Homer too literal and historical. But I am not wise enough for a national criticism, and must use the old largeness a little poets,

longer, to discharge

my

errand from the muse

to the poet concerning his art.

Art

The

is

the path of the creator to his work.

paths or methods are ideal and eternal,

though few men ever see them

;

not the

artist

himself for years, or for a lifetime, unless he

come

into

the

conditions.

The

painter, the

sculptor, the composer, the epic rhapsodist, the orator, all partake

one

desire,

namely to express


THE POET

39

themselves symmetrically and abundantly, not

They found

dwarfishly and fragmentarily.

put themselves

in

painter and sculptor

human

figures

;

conditions, as,

certain

or the

some impressive

before

the orator into the assembly

of the people; and the others in such scenes as each has found exciting to his intellect

each presently feels the new desire. a voice, he sees a beckoning. prised, with wonder,

him

in.

He

Then

he

and

;

hears is

ap-

what herds of daemons hem

can no more rest

the old painter, "

He

By God

it is

he says, with

;

me

in

and must

go forth of me." He pursues a beauty, half seen, which flies before him. The poet pours out verses

in

Most

every solitude.

of the things

he says are conventional, no doubt but by and by he says something which is original and beauHe would say nothing tiful. That charms him. else but such things. In our way of talking we but the poet say That is yours, this is mine knows well that it is not his that it is as strange and beautiful to him as to you he would fain ;

;

'

'

;

;

hear the like eloquence at length.

Once hav-

ing tasted this immortal ichor, he cannot have

enough of it, and

as

an admirable creative power

exists in these intellections,

it is

of the

portance that these things get spoken.'

last

im-

What


THE POET

40 a

of

of

little

we know

all

is

said

What

!

by what accident

when

so

many

it

is

drops

up

the sea of our science are baled

all

!

and

that these are exposed,

secrets sleep in nature

the necessity of speech and song

;

Hence

!

hence these

throbs and heart-beatings in the orator, at the

door of the assembly, to the end namely that

may be ejaculated as Logos, or Word. Doubt not, O poet, but persist. Say It is

thought

'

Stand there, balked and and stammering, hissed and hooted, stand and strive, until at last rage draw out of thee that dream-power which every night shows thee is thine own a power transcending all limit and privacy, and by virtue of which a man is the conductor of the whole river of electricity. Nothing walks, or creeps, or grows, or exists, which must not in turn arise and walk in

me, and

dumb,

shall out.'

stuttering

;

before

him

as

exponent of

his

he to that power, his genius

tribes

pour into

come

This

is

is

no longer ex-

All the creatures by. pairs and by

haustible.

to

Comes

meaning.

his

mind

as into a

forth again to, people a

like the stock

of

air for

Noah's

new

ark,

world.

our respiration

or for the combustion of our fireplace

;

not a

measure of gallons, but the entire atmosphere if

wanted.

And

therefore

the rich poets, as


THE POET Homer, Chaucer,

41

Shakspeare,

have obviously no limits to

their

and Raphael, works except

the limits of their lifetime, and resemble a mirror carried through the street, ready to render

an image of every created thing.

O poet

!

new

a

nobility

and pastures, and not blade any longer.

Thou

equal.

the

is

conferred in groves

in castles or

The

by the sword-

conditions are hard, but

shalt leave the world,

muse only. Thou

shalt not

and know

know any longer

the times, custom's, graces, politics, or opinions

of men, but shalt take the time of towns funereal

all

from the muse. For

tolled

is

from the world by

chimes, but in nature the universal

hours are counted by succeeding tribes of ani-

mals and plants, and by growth of joy on joy.

God

thou abdicate a manifold and that thou be content that

wills also that

and duplex

life,

others speak for thee.

gentlemen and worldly

life

Others shall be thy

shall represent all courtesy

for thee

;

and

others shall do the great

and resounding actions also. Thou shalt lie close hid with nature, and canst not be afforded to the Capitol or the Exchange.

The

world

of renunciations and apprenticeships, and

is full

this

is

thine thou must pass for a fool and a churl for*^ a long season. This is the screen and sheath in ;


THE POET

42

which Pan has protected his well-beloved flower, and thou shalt be known only to thine own,

and they shall console thee with tenderest love. And thou shalt not be able to rehearse the names of thy friends in thy verse, for an old shame before the holy ideal.' And this is the reward that the ideal shall be real to thee, and the impressions of the actual world shall fall ;

summer

rain, copious,

but not troublesome

to thy invulnerable essence.

Thou shalt have the

like

whole land for thy park and manor, the sea

for

thy bath and navigation, without tax and without

envy

;

woods and the

the

and thou

rivers

shalt possess that

only tenants and boarders. sea-lord

!

air-lord

!

water flows or birds

meet

in twilight,

hung by clouds

or

thou shalt own,

wherein others are

Thou

true land-lord

Wherever snow fly,

falls

or

wherever day and night

wherever the blue heaven

sown with

stars,

is

wherever are

forms with transparent boundaries, wherever are

outlets

into

celestial

danger, and awe, and love,

space, wherever

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

there

is

is

Beauty,

plenteous as rain, shed for thee, and though

thou shouldst walk the world over, thou shalt not be able to find a condition inopportune or ignoble.


II

EXPERIENCE The I

lords of

saw them

In

their

the lords of

life,

life,

pass.

own

guise.

Like and unlike. Portly and grim.

Use and

Surprise,

Surface and

Dream,

Wrong,

Succession swift, and spectral

Temperament without

And

a tongue.

the inventor of the

game

Omnipresent without name

Some to see, some to be They marched from east Little

man,

Among

least

of

to

west

the legs of his guardians

the

:

all.

Walked about with puzzled

Him by

;

guessed.

tall.

look

:

hand dear Nature took

;

Dearest Nature, strong and kind.

mind

Whispered,

'

To-morrow

they will wear another face.

The

Darling, never

founder thou

!

!

these are thy race

!


EXPERIENCE

WHERE

do we find ourselves ? In a series of which we do not know the extremes,

and believe that it has none. We wake and find ourselves on a stair there are stairs below us, which we seem to have ascended there are stairs above us, many a one, which go upward and out of sight. But the Genius which accord;

;

ing to the old belief stands at the door by which

we enter, and gives us the lethe to drink, that we may tell no tales, mixed the cup too strongly, and we cannot shake off the lethargy now at noonday. Sleep lingers eyes, as night hovers

the

not so

our lifetime about our

day

in the

All things swim and

fir-tree.'

life is

all

all

much

boughs of

glitter.

Our

threatened as our perception.

Ghostlike we glide through nature, and should

not

know our

some

fit

place again.

Did our

of indigence and frugality

that she was so sparing of her

of her earth that

it

fire

birth in

and so

fall

in

nature, liberal

appears to us that we lack

the affirmative principle, and though health and reason, yet

we have no

we have

superfluity of

new creation ? We have enough to live and bring the year about, but not an ounce to spirit for


EXPERIENCE

46

impart or to invest.

more of

little

Ah

a genius

that our Genius were a

We

!

the lower levels of a stream,

are like millers

when

on

the factories

We

above them have exhausted the water.

too

fancy that the upper people must have raised their dams.'

knew what we were

If any of us

doing, or

where we are going, then when we think we best

know

We

!

busy or

do not know to-day whether we are In times when we thought our-

idle.

selves indolent,

we have

afterwards discovered

much was accomplished and much was

that

begun

in us.^

All our days are so unprofitable

while they pass, that

when we

't

is

wonderful where or

ever got anything of this which

wisdom, poetry,

We never got

we

call

on any dated calendar day. Some heavenly days must have been intercalated somewhere, like those virtue.

Hermes won

that

Osiris

with dice of the

might be born.'

It is said all

it

Moon,

that

martyrdoms

looked mean when they were suffered. Every ship is a romantic object, except that we sail in.

Embark, and

the romance quits our vessel and

hangs on every other life

looks

seem

to

trivial,

sail

Our

in the horizon.

and we shun

to record

it.

Men

have learned of the horizon the

of perpetual retreating and reference.

'

art

Yonder


EXPERIENCE uplands are rich pasturage, and fertile

meadow, but my

farmer,

'

field,'

47

my

neighbor has

says the querulous

only holds the world together.'

another man's saying

draws himself

;

in the

I

quote

unluckily that other with-

same way, and quotes me.

'T is the trick of nature thus to degrade to-day; a good deal of buzz, and somewhere a result slipped magically in. Every roof is agreeable to the eye until it is lifted then we find tragedy women moaning and hard-eyed husbands andand deluges of lethe,and the men ask, What 's ;

'

the old were so

the news?' as

if

many many

how many

individuals can actions

of our time

?

is

we count

in society

opinions? So

preparation, so

How

bad.

much

is

?

how much

routine,

and so much retrospect, that the pith of each man's genius contracts itself to a very few hours.

The

history of literature

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

take the net result

of Tiraboschi, Warton, or Schlegel

'

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

is

of very few id^as and of very few original all

the rest being variation of these.

So

a

sum

tales

in this

great society wide lying around us, a critical analysis

would

find very few spontaneous ac-

almost

custom and gross sense.

tions.

It

There

are even few opinions,

is

all

and these seem

organic in the speakers, and do not disturb the universal necessity.


EXPERIENCE

48

What opium

is

instilled into all disaster

shows formidable as we approach is

at

no rough rasping

last

most

;

Ate Dea

" Over With

;

gentle,

is

we

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

men's heads walking

but the

fall

soft

'

hope

in

which we court suffering,

we

that here at least

shall

in the

find reality,

sharp peaks and edges of truth. But

it

turns out

The know how

to be scene-painting and counterfeit.

me

thing grief has taught

low

it is.

surface,

That, like

is

to

it is

There

not half so bad with them as they say.

moods

on

aloft.

tender feet treading so soft."

People grieve and bemoan themselves, but are

It

!

but there

friction,

slippery sliding surfaces

a thought

it,

only shal-

the rest, plays about the

all

and never introduces me into the reality, we would even pay the

for contact with which

costly price of sons

vich

'

lovers.

Bosco-

come

in

at

and converse

make us idealists. In the now more than two years ago,

Grief too will

with.

death of

seem

more.^

row

it

innavigable sea washes with silent waves be-

tween us and the things we aim

I

Was

that bodies never

Well, souls never toucli their objects.

contact?

An

and

who found out

I

my

son,

to have lost a beautiful I

cannot get

it

nearer to me.

estate,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; no

If to-mor-

should be informed of the bankruptcy of


EXPERIENCE

my

principal debtors, the loss of

would be for

49

a great inconvenience to

many

found me,

years

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

but

;

property

me, perhaps,

would leave me

neither better nor worse.

with this calamity thing which

it

my

I

;

it

me

does not touch

;

as

it

So is it some-

fancied was a part of me, which

me nor off from me

could not be torn away without tearing enlarged without enriching me,

and leaves no

scar.

that grief can teach

one step into laid

under

falls

was caducous.

It

me

grieve

I

nothing, nor carry

The

real nature.

a curse that the

Indian

'

wind should not blow

on him, nor water flow

to him, nor fire

him,

The

is

a type of us

all.

me

who was burn

dearest events are

summer-rain, and we the Para coats that shed every drop.

We

Nothing

is

left

look to that with a grim

There

at least

I take this

jects,

which

is

now but

us

death.

satisfaction, saying.

reality that will

not dodge us.

evanescence and lubricity of all oblets

them

slip

through our fingers

then when we clutch hardest, to be the most

unhandsome

part

of our condition.

Nature

does not like to be observed, and likes that we

should be her fools and playmates.

We

have the sphere for our

but not a

cricket-ball,

berry for our philosophy.

never gave us power to III

may

Direct strokes she

make

;

all

our blows


EXPERIENCE

50 glance,

all

our

hits are accidents.

to each other are

Dream end to

oblique and

delivers us to dream,

illusion.'

Life

is

Our

relations

casual.

and there

moods

a train of

is

no

like

and as we pass through them they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus. From the mountain you see the mountain. We animate what we can, and we see only what we animate. Nature and books belong to the eyes that see a string of beads,

them.

It

depends on the

whether he

shall

poem. There always genius

see

mood

man

the sunset or the fine

are always sunsets, ;

of the

and there

is

but only a few hours so serene

that

we can

more

or less depends

relish

nature or criticism.

The

on structure or temperament. Temperament is the iron wire on which the beads are strung. Of what use is fortune or talent to a cold and defective nature ? Who cares what sensibility or discrimination a man has at some time -shown, if he falls asleep in his chair ? or if he laugh and giggle ? or if he apologize

? ^

or

infected with egotism

is

of his dollar

?

gotten a child in his

?

or thinks

by food ? or has boyhood ? Of what use

or cannot go


EXPERIENCE is

genius, if the organ

is

51

too convex or too con-

cave and cannot find a focal distance within the

Of what

use,

too cold or too hot, and the

man

human

actual horizon of if

the brain

is

life

?

'

does not care enough for results to stimulate

him if

to experiment,

the

web

and hold him up

pleasure and pain, so that

too

much

in

it ?

or

too finely woven, too irritable by

is

life

stagnates from

reception without due outlet

?

Of

what use to make heroic vows of amendment, if the same old law-breaker is to keep them ?

What when

cheer can the religious sentiment yield, that

is

suspected to be secretly dependent

on the seasons of the year and the state of the blood

?

I

knew

a witty physician

"

who found

the creed in the biliary duct, and used to affirm that if there was disease in the liver, the

man

became a Calvinist, and if that organ was sound, he became a Unitarian. Very mortifying is the reluctant experience that some unfriendly excess or imbecility neutralizes the promise of genius.

We

see

young men who owe us

a

new world,

so readily and lavishly they promise, but they

never acquit the debt; they die young and dodge the account

;

or

if

they live they lose themselves

in the crowd.

Temperament

also enters fully into the sys-


EXPERIENCE

52

tem of

illusions

and shuts us

which we cannot

There

see.

sion about every person are

all

aries

of glass

an optical

is

we meet. In

illu-

truth they

creatures of given temperament, which

appear

will

in a prison

they

they seem

given character, whose bound-

in a

will

never pass ; but we look at them,

alive,

and we presume there

pulse in them. In the

in the year, in the lifetime,

certain uniform tune

is

im-

moment it seems impulse; it

turns out to be a

which the revolving

Men

of the music-box must play.

barrel

resist the

conclusion in the morning, but adopt

it

as the

evening wears on, that temper prevails over everything of time, place and condition, and

Inconsumable

of

in the flames

is

Some

religion.'

modifications the moral sentiment avails to impose, but the individual texture holds ion. If not to bias the fix

domin-

moral judgments, yet to

the measure of activity and of enjoyment. I

thus express the law as

platform of ordinary it

its

life,

it Is

read from the

but must not leave

without noticing the capital exception.

temperament

is

a

willingly

On

the plat-

hears any one praise but himself

form of physics we cannot influences

puts

all

For

power which no man

resist the contracting

of so-called science.

divinity to rout.

I

Temperament

know

the mental


EXPERIENCE proclivity of physicians.

the

phrenologists.

I

53

hear the chuckle of

Theoretic kidnappers and

man

slave-drivers, they esteem each

of another,

who winds him round

knowing the law of

his

being

;

the victim

his finger

by

and, by such

cheap signboards as the color of his beard or the slope of his occiput, reads the inventory

The

of his fortunes and character.

norance does not disgust like

The

knowingness.' materialists;

But the

but they are:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Spirit :

O

is

matter

so thin

!

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

definition of spiritual should be, that

is

'

its

own

evidence.'^

they attach to love

would

impudent

this

physicians say they are not

reduced to an extreme thinness

which

grossest ig-

not willingly

!

What

notions do

One what to religion pronounce these words !

and give them the occasion to profane them. I saw a gracious gentleman who adapts his conversation to the form of the I had fancied head of the man he talks with in

their hearing,

!

that the value of sibilities

in

;

life

lay in

the fact that

its

inscrutable pos-

I

never know, in

addressing myself to a new individual, what

may

befall

me.

I

carry the keys of

my

my hand, ready to throw them at the my lord, whenever and in what disguise

in

he

shall

appear.

I

know he

is

castle

feet

of

soever

in the neigh-


EXPERIENCE

54

among vagabonds.

borhood, hidden

my

preclude

Shall

a high seat

by taking

future

I

and

my conversation to the shape When I come to that, the doctors of heads But, sir, medical shall buy me for a cent. kindly adapting ?

history facts

!

'

;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

'

the report to the Institute

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

I distrust

Temperament

is

;

the proven

the facts and the inferences.

the veto or limitation-power

very justly applied to

In the constitution,

re-

an opposite excess in the constitution,

strain

but absurdly offered

as a bar to original equity.

When

virtue

presence,

powers

sleep.

Is

In

On

Its

nature, temperament

own is

all

subordinate

level, or in

final.

I

view of

see not, If one

be once caught In this trap of so-called ences,

any escape for the

man from

the chain of physical necessity.

scl^

the links of

Given such an

On

embryo, such a history must follow.

this

platform one lives In a sty of sensualism, and

would soon come sible that itself.

which passes.

to suicide.

But

It

Impos-

the creative power should exclude

Into every Intelligence there Is

Is

is

a door

never closed, through which the creator

The

Intellect,

seeker of absolute truth,

or the heart, lover of absolute good, intervenes for our succor,

and

at

one whisper of these high

powers we awake from Ineffectual struggles with


EXPERIENCE

We

this nightmare.'

hurl

it

55

into

its

and cannot again contract ourselves

own

hell,

to so base

a state.

The

secret of the illusoriness

is

in the necessity

of a succession of moods or objects. Gladly we would anchor, but the anchorage is quicksand. This onward trick of nature is too strong for us

:

Pero

si

muove.^

moon and stars, hurry. Our love

When I

to

of the

real

and sanity of mind

association.

at

draws us to per-

manence, but health of body consists tion,

look

at night I

seem stationary, and they

the

We need

in circula-

in variety or facility of

change of objects.

cation to one thought

Dedi-

quickly odious.

is

We

house with the insane, and must humor them ; then conversation dies out. Once I took such delight in

Montaigne

that I thought

not need any other book speare at

;

in Bettine

either of

;

but

;

should

then in Plotinus

;

;

now

;

I

turn the pages of

them languidly, whilst

their genius.

I

before that, in Shak-

afterwards in Goethe

then in Plutarch

one time in Bacon

even

;

So with pictures

;

I still

cherish

each will bear

an emphasis of attention once, which

it

cannot

though we fain would continue to be pleased in that manner. How strongly I have

retain,


EXPERIENCE

56 felt

of pictures that when you have seen one

you must take your leave of it; you shall never see it again. I have had good lessons from pictures which I have since seen without emotion or remark. A deduction must be made

well,

from the opinion which even the wise express on a new book or occurrence. Their opinion gives

me

tidings of their

new

guess at the

fact,

as the lasting relation

that thing. I

The

mood, and some vague

but

child asks,

like the story as well as

yesterday

?

'

Alas

oldest cherubim

child,

!

nowise to be trusted

is

between that '

intellect

and

Mamma, why don't

when you

told

it

me

even so with the

it is

of knowledge.

But

will

it

answer thy question to say. Because thou wert

born to a whole and

The

is

a particular

?

reason of the pain this discovery causes us

(and we art

this story

and

make

it

late in respect to

intellect) is the plaint

murmurs from

it

works of

of tragedy which

in regard to persons, to friend-

ship and love.

That immobility and absence of elasticity which we find in the arts, we find with more pain in the artist. There is no power of expansion in

men.

Our

friends early appear to us as

representatives of certain ideas which they never

pass or exceed.

They stand on

the brink of the


EXPERIENCE

57

ocean of thought and power, but they never take the single step that would there.

A

man

is

like a bit

bring them

of Labrador spar,

which has no

lustre as you turn it in your hand you come to a particular angle then it shows deep and beautiful colors. There is no adaptation or universal applicability in men, but each has his special talent, and the mastery

until

;

of successful

men

consists

in adroitly

keeping

themselves where and when that turn shall be

We do what we must, by the best names we can, and would

oftenest to be practised.

and

call it

fain

have the praise of having intended the rewhich ensues. I cannot recall any form of

sult

man who not this to

do

is

not superfluous sometimes.

pitiful

?

Life

is

But

is

not worth the taking,

tricks in.

Of course

it

needs the whole society to give

symmetry we seek. The party-colored wheel must revolve very fast to appear white. Something is earned too by conversing with so the

much folly and defect. In fine, whoever loses, we are always of the gaining party. Divinity is behind our failures and follies also. The plays of children are nonsense, but very educative nonsense. So it is with the largest and solemnest things, with

commerce, government, church,


EXPERIENCE

58

marriage, and so with the history of every man's bread, and the ways by which he it.

Like a bird which

alights

is

to

come by

nowhere, but hops

bough to bough, is the Power no man and in no woman, but

perpetually from

which abides

in

moment speaks from this another moment from that one. for a

one, and for

But what help from these fineries or pedantries ? What help from thought ? Life is not dialectics.'

We,

I

think, in these times, have

had lessons enough of the

futility

of criticism.

Our young people have thought and written much on labor and reform, and for all that they have written, neither the world nor themselves have got on a will

step.

Intellectual tasting of

not supersede muscular activity.

If a

life

man

should consider the nicety of the passage of a

down At Education Farm piece of bread

sat

on the noblest

his throat,

he would starve.

the noblest theory of figures of

life

young men and

maidens, quite powerless and melancholy.

It

would not rake or pitch a ton of hay it would not rub down a horse and the men and maidens ;

;

it left

pale and hungry.''

A

political orator wit-

compared our party promises to western roads, which opened stately enough, with planted

tily


EXPERIENCE trees

on

either side to

59

tempt the

traveller,

but

soon became narrow and narrower and ended a

and ran up

squirrel-track

culture with us

;

it

So does

tree.

ends in headache. Unspeak-

ably sad and barren does

who

a

in

look to those

life

months ago were dazzled with the " There

a few

splendor of the promise of the times.

now no longer any right course of action nor any self-devotion left among the Iranis." Objections and criticism we have had our fill of. is

'

There

are objections to every course of

action,

and the

practical

ferency, from

The whole ency.

Do

wisdom

and

infers an indif-

the omnipresence of objection.

frame of things preaches indifFer-

not craze yourself with thinking, but

go about your business anywhere. intellectual or critical, is

life

but sturdy.

for well-mixed people

who

they find, without question.

Life

is

not

Its chief good

can enjoy what

Nature hates peep-

and our mothers speak her very sense when they say, " Children, eat your victuals, and say ing,

no more of happiness ice for a

;

it."

to

fill

To

fill

the hour,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

that

is

the hour and leave no crev-

repentance or an approval.'

We

live

amid surfaces, and the true art of life is to skate well on them. Under the oldest mouldiest conventions a

man

of native force prospers just as


EXPERIENCE

6o

and that by

well as in the newest world,

He

of handling and treatment. anywhere.

Life itself

and form, and either.

To

will

a mixture

is

skill

can take hold

of power

not bear the least excess of

finish the

moment,

to find the jour-

ney's end in every step of the road, to live the

number of good hours, is wisdom. It is not the part of men, but of fanatics, or of mathematicians if you will, to say that, the short-

greatest

not worth caring

ness of

life

whether

for so short a duration

considered,

it

is

with moments,

let

us husband them.

utes of to-day are worth as

minutes

in

we were

sprawl-

Since our office

ing in want or sitting high.

much

to

Five min-

me

men and women

they were real

;

their fancy, like soft

;

treat

are.

Let us

them

Men

as if

live in

drunkards whose hands are too

and tremulous for successful labor.

tempest of is

well

perhaps they

as five

Let us be

the next millennium.

poised, and wise, and our own, to-day. treat the

is

fancies,

and the only

a respect to the present

hour.

It

is

a

know Without any

ballast I

shadow of doubt, amidst this vertigo of shows and politics, I settle myself ever the firmer in the creed that we should not postpone and refer and wish, but do broad justice where we are, by whomsoever we deal with, accepting our actual


EXPERIENCE

6i

companions and circumstances, however humble or odious, as the mystic officials to

the universe has delegated If these are

for us.

contentment, which tice, is a

more

is

whole pleasure

its

mean and

whom

malignant, their

the last victory of jus-

satisfying echo to the heart than

the voice of poets and the casual sympathy

of admirable persons. thoughtful

man may

and absurdities of

his

I

think that however a

from the defects company, he cannot withsuffer

out affectation deny to any

women

set

of

men and The

a sensibility to extraordinary merit.

coarse and frivolous have an instinct of superiority, if they

in

it

their

have not a sympathy, and honor

blind capricious

way with

sincere

homage.'

The

fine

young people

and in such as with and to whom a day it is

me is

a

despise

life,

but in me,

are free from dyspepsia,

sound and soHd good,

a great excess of politeness to look scorn-

and to cry for company. I am grown by sympathy a little eager and sentimental, but leave me alone and I should relish every hour ful

and what

it

brought me, the potluck of the day,

as heartily as the oldest gossip in the bar-room. I

am

thankful for small mercies.

notes with one of

I

compared

my friends who expects every-


EXPERIENCE

62

thing of the universe and

anything I

is

disappointed

is

less than the best, and

when

found that

I

begin at the other extreme, expecting nothing,

am

and

goods.'

always

full

of thanks for

moderate

accept the clangor and jangle of con-

I

trary tendencies.

They

bores also.

my

find

I

account in sots and

give a reality to the circum-

jacent picture which such a vanishing meteorous

appearance can

In the morning

spare.

ill

I

awake and find the old world, wife, babes and mother. Concord and Boston, the dear old spiritual

world and even the dear old devil not

off.

If

we

will take the

we

questions,

shall

is

is

life,

belt.

of thought, of

Moreover, is

We may climb

or sink into that of sensa-

Between these extremes

all

Everything

analysis.

and cold realm of pure geometry

lifeless science,

thing good into

by

the temperate zone.

into the thin

tion.

far

asking no

on the highway. The middle region of

our being

and

find,

have heaping measures. The

great gifts are not got

good

good we

spirit,

in

is

the equator of

of poetry,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

a

narrow

popular experience every-

on the highway.

the picture-shops of

A collector peeps

Europe

for a land-

scape of Poussin, a crayon-sketch of Salvator

but the Transfiguration, the Last Judgment, the Communion of Saint Jerome, and what are as


EXPERIENCE

63

transcendent as these, are on the walls of the Vatican, the UfEzi, or the Louvre, where every

footman may see them

to say nothing of

Na-

ture's pictures in every street, of sunsets

and

sunrises

;

every day, and the sculpture of the

human body

never absent.

A collector recently

bought at public auction, in London, for one hundred and fifty-seven guineas, an autograph of Shakspeare can read est

;

but for nothing a school-boy

Hamlet and can

detect secrets of high-

concernment yet unpublished

think

I will

books,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

therein.

I

never read any but the commonest

the Bible,

Homer, Dante, Shakspeare

and Milton. Then we are impatient of so public a life and planet, and run hither and thither for nooks and secrets. The imagination delights in the woodcraft of Indians, trappers and beehunters. We fancy that we are strangers, and not so intimately domesticated the wild

man and

in the planet as

the wild beast and bird.

the exclusion reaches

them

also

;

But

reaches the

climbing, flying, gliding, feathered and four-

footed man.

Fox and woodchuck, hawk and when nearly seen, have no

snipe and bittern,

more root

in the

deep world than man, and

are just such superficial tenants of the globe.

Then

the

new molecular philosophy shows

as-


EXPERIENCE

64

tronomical interspaces betwixt atom and atom,

shows that the world

is

outside

all

it

;

has no

inside.

The mid-world is best. Nature, as we know The lights of the church, the is no saint.

her,

ascetics,

Gentoos and corn-eaters, she does not by any favor. She comes eating and

distinguish

drinking and sinning.

Her

darlings, the great,

the strong, the beautiful, are not children of

do not come out of the Sunday School, nor weigh their food, nor punctually keep the our law

;

commandments. If we will be strong with her strength we must not harbor such disconsolate consciences, borrowed too from the consciences

of other nations.

We

present tense against

must all

set

"up the strong

the rumors of wrath,

So many things are unsettled of the first importance to settle

past or to come.'

which

it is

;

and, pending their settlement,

we

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

do as we do. Whilst the debate goes forward on the equity of commerce, and will not be closed for a century or two. New and Old England may keep shop. Law of copyright and international copyright

we

is

will sell

to be discussed,

and

will

in the interim

our books for the most we can.

Expediency of

literature, reason

lawfulness of writing

down

of

literature,

a thought,

is

ques-


tioned

much

;

is

EXPERIENCE

65

on both

sides, and, while

to say

the fight waxes hot, thou, dearest scholar, stick to thy foolish task,

add

between whiles add a right of property, tions convene,

away

a line every hour,

line.

Right

purposes.

and before the vote

godsend to

Life itself

all

is

is

taken, dig

serene and beautiful

a bubble and a scepti-

cism, and a sleep within a sleep.

much more

darling

to hold land,

disputed, and the conven-

is

your garden, and spend your earnings

in

as a waif or

as

and

!

they

as

will,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but

Grant

it,

and

thou, God's

heed thy private dream

;

thou wilt

not be missed in the scorning and scepticism there are

enough of them

and do about

it.

puny that,

Thy

stay there in thy

the rest are agreed what to

toil until

closet

;

sickness, they say,

do

habit require that thou

but

know

that thy

tent for a night, and ish that stint.

Thou

and thy

this or

avoid

life is

a flitting state, a

do thou,

sick or well, fin-

art sick,

but shalt not be

worse, and the universe, which holds thee dear, shall

be the

Human

better.'

life is

made up of

the two elements,

power and form, and the proportion must be invariably kept if we would have it sweet and sound. Each of these elements in excess makes a mischief as hurtful as

its

defect.

Everything


EXPERIENCE

66

runs to excess

;

every good quality

noxious

is

unmixed, and, to carry the danger to the edge of ruin, nature causes each man's peculiarity to superabound. Here, among the farms, if

we adduce

the

treachery. They sion. You who

scholars

as

examples of

this

are nature's victims of expressee the artist, the orator, the

poet, too near, and find their

no more ex-

life

cellent than that of mechanics or farmers,

and

themselves victims of partiality, very hollow

and haggard, and pronounce them

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; conclude

heroes, but quacks,

failures,

not

very reason-

ably that these arts are not for man, but are disease. resistible

Yet nature nature

will

not bear you out.

made men

such, and

Ir-

makes

more of such, every day. You love the boy reading in a book, gazing at a drawing or a cast yet what are these millions who read and behold, but incipient writers and sculptors ? Add a little more of that quality which now reads and sees, and they will seize the pen and chisel. And if one remembers how innolegions

;

cently he began to be an artist, he perceives that nature joined with his

golden impossibility. is

a hair's breadth.

of wisdom

is

made

enemy.

A

man

is

a

The line he must walk The wise through excess

a fool.'


EXPERIENCE

How

easily, if fate

would

suffer

keep forever these beautiful ourselves, once for

all,

of the kingdom of

known

we might and adjust

it,

limits,

to the perfect calculation

cause and effect.

the street and in the newspapers, plain a business that

67

life

In

appears so

manly resolution and ad-

herence to the multiplication-table through weathers will insure success.

comes a day, or

is it

angel-whispering,

But ah

!

all

presently

only a half-hour, with

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which

its

discomfits the con-

and of years To-morrow again every thing looks real and angular, the habitual standards are reinstated, common-sense is the basis of genius, and is as rare as genius, experience is hands and feet to every enterprise and yet, he who should do his business on this understanding would be quickly bankrupt. clusions of nations

!

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Power keeps

quite another road than the turn-

pikes of choice and will

;

namely the subterra-

nean and invisible tunnels and channels of It

is

ridiculous that

we

are diplomatists,

doctors, and considerate people

dupes

like these.

Life

is

;

God

and

there are no

a series of surprises,

and would not be worth taking or keeping were not.

life.

if it

delights to isolate us every day,

and hide from us the past and the future. We would look about us, but with grand politeness


EXPERIENCE

68

he draws down before us an impenetrable screen of purest sky, and another behind us of purest sky.

'You

will

not remember,' he seems to say,

and you will not expect.' All good conversation, manners and action come from a spontaneity which forgets usages and makes the moment great. Nature hates calculators; her methods are '

Man

and impulsive.

saltatory

lives

our organic movements are such cal

by pulses

and the chemi-

;

and ethereal agents are undulatory and

alter-

mind goes antagonizing on, and fits. We thrive by casual-

nate ; and the

never prospers but by

Our chief experiences have been casual. The most attractive class of people are those who ties.

and not by the

are powerful obliquely

stroke;'

men

of genius, but not

one gets the cheer of too great a tax.

Theirs

the beauty of the bird

is

thought of genius there

and the moral sentiment ness," for

it is

dom like

is

is

In the

always a surprise

well called

as new young child

never other

art.

;

;

;

"the new-

to the oldest

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;"

the king-

Cometh without observation." ^ In manner, for practical success, there must not that

be too in

;

their light without paying

or the morning hght, and not of

intelligence as to the

direct

yet, accredited

much design.

A man will not be observed

doing that which he can do

best.

There

is

a


EXPERIENCE magic about

certain

stupefies

though

69

which

his properest action

your powers of observation, so that

done before you, you wist not of it. art of life has a pudency, and will not be exposed. Every man is an impossibility until it is

The he

born

is

a success.

;

The

see

ardors of piety agree at last with

the coldest scepticism,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

that nothing

or our works,

all

is

will

we

every thing impossible until

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

that

of God.'

not spare us the smallest leaf of

is

of us

Nature

laurel.

All

God, and all dowould gladly be moral and

writing comes by the grace of

ing and having.

I

keep due metes and bounds, which I dearly love, and allow the most to the will of man but I ;

have set

and

I

my

heart on honesty in this chapter,

can see nothing at

ure, than

last, in

more or less of vital

the Eternal.

The

results

of

success or

force supplied life

fail-

from

are uncalculated

and uncalculable. The years teach much which the days never know. The persons who compose our company converse, and come and go, and design and execute many things, and somewhat comes of

it all,

but an unlooked-for

result.

The individual is always mistaken. He designed many things, and drew in other persons as coadjutors, quarrelled with

much, and something

is

some or done

;

all,

all

blundered are a little


EXPERIENCE

70

advanced, but the individual

is

always mistaken.

It turns out somewhat new and very unlike what he promised himself.

The

ancients, struck with this irreducibleness

of the elements of exalted

Chance

human

life

to calculation,

into a divinity; but that

is

to

stay too long at the spark, which glitters truly at

one point, but the universe

is

warm with

the

same fire. The miracle of life which will not be expounded but will remain a miracle, introduces a new element. I n the growth of the embryo, Sir Everard Home' I think noticed that the evolution was not from one central point, but coactive from three or more points. That which proceeds in Life has no memory. succession might be remembered, but that which is coexistent, or ejaculated from a deeper cause, as yet far from being conscious, knows not its own tendency. So is it with us, now sceptical or without unity, because immersed in forms and effects all seeming to be of equal yet hostile value, and now religious, whilst in the reception

latency of the

of spiritual law.

Bear with these distractions,

with this coetaneous growth of the parts will

On

;

one day be members, and obey one

they will.

that one will, on that secret cause, they nail


EXPERIENCE our attention and hope.

Life

71

hereby melted

is

Underneath

into an expectation or a religion.

the inharmonious and trivial particulars, sical

perfection

us, the

;

mode of our

illumination.

converse with a profound mind, or being alone

once arrive I

at satisfactions, as

drink water

but

I

am

new and

if at

have good thoughts,

I

;

a

mu-

the Ideal journeying always with

heaven without rent or seam.

observe the

is

or go to the

at first apprised

any time

do not

when, being

my

of

;

no

1

vicinity to a

By

life.

at

thirsty,

being cold

fire,

excellent region of

I

Do but When I

persisting

to read or to think, this region gives further sign

of

itself, as it

discoveries of

were in flashes of its

sudden

profound beauty and repose,

as if the clouds that ^covered

tervals

light, in

it

parted at in-

and showed the approaching

traveller

the inland mountains, with the tranquil eternal

whereon flocks graze and shepherds pipe and dance. But every insight from this realm of thought is felt as ini-

meadows spread

at their base,

and promises a sequel. I do not make it 1 arrive there, and behold what was there already. O no I clap my hands in infantine I make joy and amazement before the first opening to tial,

;

1

me of this

!

august magnificence, old with the love

and homage of innumerable

ages,

young with


EXPERIENCE

72 the

life

of life, the sunbright Mecca of the desert.

And what

a future

opens

it

beating with the love of the

a

I feel

!

new

heart

new beauty.

am

I

ready to die out of nature and be born again into this

new yet unapproachable Amei-ica

found "

in the

West

Since neither

now

:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

nor yesterday began

These thoughts, which have been

A If

I

man

he found

have

I

who

have described

their

first

ever, nor yet can

entrance

as a flux

life

knew."

"

of moods,

I

must now add that there is that in us which changes not and which ranks all sensations and of mind.

states is

The

a sliding scale,

the First Cause, and

body

;

life

above

consciousness in each

which

identifies

now

life,

sentiment from which

with the flesh of his

in infinite degrees. it

man

him now with

The

sprung determines the

dignity of any deed, and the question ever

is,

not

what you have done or forborne, but at whose command you have done or forborne it. Fortune, Minerva, Muse,

Holy Ghost,

these are quaint names, too narrow to cover

unbounded substance. The must still kneel before this refuses to be named, ineffable

this

baffled intel-

lect

cause, which

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

cause, which

every fine genius has essayed to represent by

some emphatic symbol,

as,

Thales by water. An-


EXPERIENCE

73

Anaxagoras by (NoCs) thought, Zoroaster by fire, Jesus and the moderns by love ; and the metaphor of each has become a national religion. The Chinese Mencius has

aximenes by

air,

not been the least successful in his generalization. " I fully understand language," he said,

" and nourish well

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; "I

my vast-flowing vigor."

"

call vast-flowing vigor

? beg to ask what you " said his companion. The explanation," replied Mencius, " is difRcult. This vigor is supremely

and

great,

it will

earth. tice

in

the highest degree unbending.

and do it no injury, and fill up the vacancy between heaven and This vigor accords with and assists jus-

Nourish

it

correctly

and reason, and leaves no hunger."

our more correct writing we give to alization the fess

have

we have

that

Suffice

name of

it

this

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; In

gener-

Being, and thereby con-

we can

go.

for the joy of the universe that

we

arrived as far as

not arrived at a wall, but at interminable

oceans.

Our

prospective

;

life

seems not present so much

not for the

affairs

on which

it

as is

wasted, but as a hint of this vast-flowing vigor.

Most of of faculty

life ;

seems to be mere advertisement

information

ourselves cheap particulars,

;

that

is

we

our greatness

given us not to

are very great. is

sell

So, in

always in a tendency


EXPERIENCE

74

or direction, not in an action.

It

is

for us to

The

believe in the rule, not in the exception.

known from

noble are thus

So

the ignoble.

accepting the leading of the sentiments,

it is

in

not

what we believe concerning the immortality of the soul or the like, but the universal impulse

to

circumstance and

is

believe, that is the material

the principal fact in the history of the globe.'

we

Shall

directly

describe this cause as that which works

?

The

of mediate organs. direct effects. ing,

I

am

not helpless or needful

spirit is

am

I

felt

It has plentiful

powers and

explained without explain-

without acting, and where

I

am

not. Therefore all just persons are satisfied with their

own

praise.

They

refuse to explain them-

and are content that new actions should do them that office. They believe that we communicate without speech and above speech, and that no right action of ours is quite unaffect-

selves,

ing to our friends, at whatever distance the influence of action

by

miles.

Why

should

is

I

;

not to be measured

myself because

fret

a circumstance has occurred which hinders

presence where the meeting,

I

my as

was expected

If

?

presence where

I

I

am

am

my

not at

should be

commonwealth of friendship would be my presence in that

as useful to the

and wisdom,

for


EXPERIENCE place.

I

exert the

75

same quality of power

in all

Thus journeys the mighty Ideal before us it never was known to fall into the rear. No man ever came to an experience which was places. ;

satiating,

but

his

good

is

tidings of a better.

Onward and onward In liberated moments we know that a new picture of life and duty is !

already possible

;

the elements already exist in

many minds around you of which

shall

have.

The new

transcend

a doctrine of hfe

any written record we

statement will comprise the

scepticisms as well as the faiths of society, and

For

out of unbeliefs a creed shall be formed.

scepticisms are not gratuitous or lawless, but are limitations of the affirmative statement,

the

new philosophy must

make as

take

them

in

affirmations outside of them, just as

it

must include the

It

is

discovery

is

and

much

oldest beliefs."

very unhappy, but too

the discovery

and

we have made

late to

be helped,

we exist."" That Man. Ever after-

that

called the Fall of

wards we suspect our instruments.

We

have

we do not see directly, but medithat we have no means of correcting ately, and these colored and distorting lenses which we are, or of computing the amount of their errors. learned that


EXPERIENCE

76

Perhaps these subject-lenses

power

;

this

;

things, engages us. religions,

God is

Once we

what we saw now, the rapaciousness new power, which threatens to absorb all

lived in

of

have a creative

perhaps there are no objects.

Nature,

art,

objects, successively

persons, letters,

tumble

in,

and

but one of its ideas. Nature and literature

phenomena; every evil and every a shadow which we cast. The street

are subjective:

good thing is full

is

of humiliations to the proud.

contrived to dress his

make them

As

the fop

bailiffs in his livery

and

wait on his guests at table, so the

chagrins which the bad heart gives off as bubbles, at

once take form as ladies and gentlemen

in the street,

shopmen

or bar-keepers in hotels,

and threaten or insult whatever is threatenable and insultable in us. 'T is the same with our idolatries.

makes

People forget that

it is

the eye which

the horizon, and the rounding mind's eye

which makes

this or that

man

sentative of humanity, with the

a

type or repre-

name of hero

or

Jesus, the " providential man," is a good man on whom many people are agreed that

saint.

By

love on one part and by forbearance to press objection on the other part, it is for a time settled that we these optical laws shall take effect.

will

look

at

him

in the centre

of the horizon.


EXPERIENCE and ascribe to any

to

man

him

the properties that will attach

so seen.

But the longest love or

aversion has a speedy term. cive

self,

77

The

great and cres-

rooted in absolute nature, supplants

relative existence and ruins the kingdom of mortal friendship and love. Marriage (in

all

what

is

called the spiritual world)

is

impossible,

because of the inequality between every subject

and every object. The subject is the receiver of Godhead, and at every comparison must feel his being enhanced by that cryptic might. Though not in energy, yet by presence,

this

of substance cannot be otherwise than

magazine felt

;

nor

can any force of intellect attribute to the object the proper deity which sleeps or wakes forever

Never can love make consciousness and ascription equal in force. There will be the same gulf between every me and in every subject.

thee as between the original and the picture.

The vate

universe

is

sympathy

the bride of the soul. is

partial.

All pri-

Two human

beings

which can touch only in a point, and whilst they remain in contact all other points of each of the spheres are inert their turn must

are like globes,

;

also

come, and the longer

the

more energy of appetency

union acquire.

a particular

union

lasts

the parts not in


EXPERIENCE

78

Life will be imaged, but cannot be divided

Any

nor doubled.

The soul

be chaos.

invasion of is

unity would

its

not twin-born but the only

begotten, and though revealing itself as child in time, child in appearance,

no

versal power, admitting

of a

is

and uniEvery day,

fatal

co-life.

We

every act betrays the ill-concealed deity.

we do not

believe in ourselves as others.

We

that which for us.

permit

we

It

which

The

man

is

thinks a latitude

nowise to be indulged

act looks very differently .

the inside and on the outside

and

in its consequences.

derer

is

in

;

Murder

no such ruinous thought

romancers

experiment

is

never speak of crime as lightly or every

;

safe for himself

to another.

others

an instance of our faith in our-

is

as they think

believe in

things to ourselves, and

call sin in

men

selves that

all

will

have

it; it

in the

mur-

as poets

and

does not unsettle him

or fright him from his ordinary notice of

trifles

an act quite easy to be contemplated; but

it is

in

on

quality

its

its

sequel

it

turns out to be a horrible jangle

and confounding of

all

relations.

Especially the

crimes that spring from love seem right and fair

from the

actor's point

of view, but when

acted are found destructive of society. at last believes that

he can be

lost,

No man

or that the


EXPERIENCE crime in him

is

79

Because

as black as in the felon.

own case the moral no crime to the intelantinomian or hypernomian, and well as fact. " It is worse than a

the intellect qualifies in our

For there

judgments.

That

lect.

is

judges law as crime,

it is

is

a blunder," said

Napoleon, speaking

the language of the intellect.

To

it,

the world

is

problem in mathematics or the science of quantity, and it leaves out praise and blame and all

a

.

weak emotions. All stealing is comparative. If you come to absolutes, pray who does not steal ? Saints are sad, because they behold sin (even

when they

speculate) from the point of view of

the conscience, and not of the intellect sion of thought.

Sin, seen

a diminution, or less

or will, it

it is

;

;

a confu-

from the thought,

seen from the conscience

pravity or bad.

The

intellect

names

shade, absence of light, and no essence.

conscience must feel

This

no

not

it is

;

it

it

is

The

as essence, essential evil.

has an objective existence, but

subjective.'

Thus color,

inevitably does the universe wear our

and every object

subject

itself.

larges

all

As

I

;

fall

successively into the

The subject

exists, the subject en-

things sooner or later

am, so

I

see

we can never say

fall

into place.

we anything but what we

;

use what language

will,

are


EXPERIENCE

8o

Hermes, Cadmus, Columbus, Newton, Bonaparte, are the mind's ministers.

ing a poverty

Instead of

feel-

when we encounter a great man,

let

us treat the new-comer like a travelling geologist

who passes through our

and shows us good

or limestone, or anthracite, in our brush

slate,

The

pasture. in

estate

partial action

one direction

which

it

is

knowledge agance, ere

Do you

of each strong mind

a telescope for the objects on

is

But every other part of pushed to the same extravthe soul attains her due sphericity. pointed.

is

to be

see that kitten chasing so prettily her

own

tail ? If you could look with her eyes you might see her surrounded with hundreds of figures performing complex dramas, with tragic and comic issues, long conversations, many characters, many ups and downs of fate, and meantime it is only puss and her tail. How long before our masquerade will end its noise of tam-

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

bourines, laughter and shouting, and find

it

was a

and an

solitary

object,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

it

performance

takes so

much

we

A

?

to

shall

subject

make

the

galvanic circuit complete, but magnitude adds

nothing.

What

imports

it

whether

it is

and the sphere, Columbus and America, and his book, or puss with her tail ? It

is

true that

all

Kepler a reader

the muses and love and


EXPERIENCE

8i

religion hate these developments,

way

to punish the chemist

who

and

will find a

publishes in the

And we

parlor the secrets of the laboratory.

cannot say too

little

of our constitutional neces-

of seeing things under private aspects, or

sity

saturated with our humors.

And yet

the

is

God

That need

the native of these bleak rocks.

makes in morals the capital virtue of self-trust. We must hold hard to this poverty, however scandalous, and by more vigorous self-recoverafter the sallies

ies,

more far

firmly.

The

mournful; but

of action, possess our axis

life it

of truth is

is

not the slave of tears,

and perturbations.

contritions

cold and so

It

does not

at-

tempt another's work, nor adopt another's facts. It is a main lesson of wisdom to know your own

from another's.

I

have learned that

dispose of other people's facts; but

such a key to all

my own

as persuades

their denials, that they

theirs."

A

dilemma of

who

all

a

is

cannot possess

me, against

have a key to placed in the

swimmer among drowning men,

catch at him, and

if

a leg or a finger they will

wish to be saved from the vices,

also

sympathetic person

I

I

much as drown him. They he give so

mischiefs of their

but not from their vices.

Charity would

be wasted on this poor waiting on the symp-


EXPERIENCE

82

toms.

Come

A

wise and hardy physician will say,

out of that, as the first condition of advice.

In this our talking America we are ruined by our good nature and listening on all sides. This compliance takes away the power of being greatly useful.

A

man should

not be able to

A

look other than directly and forthright. occupied attention

importunate

and

to an

frivolous.

This

tion,

is

frivolity

the only answer to the

of other people

aim which makes

;

an atten-

their wants

a divine answer,

is

pre-

and leaves

no appeal and no hard thoughts. In Flaxman's drawing of the Eumenides of ^schylus, Orestes supplicates Apollo, whilst the Furies sleep on the threshold.

The

a shade of regret

face of the

god expresses

and compassion, but

calm

is

with the conviction of the irreconcilableness of the two spheres. into the eternal

He and

is

born into other

beautiful.

politics,

The man

at his

feet asks for his interest in turmoils of the earth,

into which his nature cannot enter.

And

the

Eumenides there lying express pictorially this disparity. The god is surcharged with his divine destiny.

Illusion,

Surprise,

Temperament, Succession,

Reality, Subjectiveness,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Surface,

these

are


EXPERIENCE threads on the

of

life.

but

I

loom of time, these them

as I find

picture.

I

am I

and

a fragment,

and form, but

am

I

too

ages to compile a code.

I

many

fair I

in.

politics.

am

I

itself into re-

young yet by some

pictures not in vain.

have lived

this is a frag-

Where

is

the fruit

This

is

I

have seen wonderful

ask for a rash effect

I

was

Let who

will

not the novice

I

?

a fruit,

hour

A

fourteen, nor yet seven years ago.

sufficient.

my

gossip for

I

concerning the eternal

ask.

way.

can very confidently announce

one or another law, which throws

time

my

in

better than to claim any completeness for

ment of me. lief

are the lords

dare not assume to give their order,

name them

know

my

I

83

find a private fruit

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

that

I

should not

from meditations, counsels

and the hiving of truths. I should feel it pitiful to demand a result on this town and county, an overt effect on the instant month and year. The effect is deep and secular as the cause. It works on periods in which mortal lifetime is lost. All I am and I have but I I know is reception when I have fancied I had do not get, and gotten anything, I found I did not. I worship :

;

with wonder the great Fortune. has been so large, that

I

am

My

reception

not annoyed by

receiving this or that superabundantly.

I

say to


EXPERIENCE

84 the Genius,

a

mill, in

gift, I

if

he will pardon the proverb. In for

for a

million.

do not macerate

account square, for

make

When I receive a new my body to make the should die

if I

The

the account square.

the merit the

ever since.

day, and has overrun the merit

first

The

could not

I

benefit overran

merit

itself,

so-called, I reckon

part of the receiving.

Also that hankering seems to

cal effect

earnest I

am

after

me

an overt or practi-

willing to spare this

sary deal of doing.

In good

an apostasy.

Life wears to

most unneces-

me

a visionary

face.

Hardest roughest action

It

but a choice between soft and turbulent

is

is

visionary also.

dreams.

People disparage knowing and the

tellectual

life,

and urge doing.

with knowing,

if

only

I

am very

could know.

I

content

That

an august entertainment, and would suffice a great while.

To know

a little

the expense of this world.

I

in-

is

me

would be worth

hear always the law

of Adrastia, " that every soul which had acquired

any truth, should be other period." I

city I

know and

from harm

safe

until an-

'

that the world

in the farms,

is

I

converse with in the

not the world

I

think.

observe that difference, and shall observe

One day

I shall

know

it.

the value and law of this


EXPERIENCE

85

But I have not found that much was gained by manipular attempts to realize the discrepance.

Many

world of thought. sively

eager persons succes-

make an experiment in this way, and make They acquire democratic

themselves ridiculous.

manners, they foam at the mouth, they hate and deny. Worse, I observe that in the history of

mankind success,

there

never a solitary example of

is

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; taking

their

own

tests

of success.

I

say this polemically, or in reply to the inquiry.

Why me

not realize your world

But

?

far

be from

the despair which prejudges the law by a

paltry empiricism;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

right endeavor but

it

patience,

we

shall

win

since

never was a

there

Patience and

succeeded. at the last.

We

must be

very suspicious of the deceptions of the element

of time.

good deal of time to eat or earn a hundred dollars, and a

It takes a

to sleep, or to

very

little

time to entertain a hope and an insight

which becomes the light of our

life.

We

dress

our garden, eat our dinners, discuss the house-

hold with our wives, and these things make no impression, are forgotten next solitude to

which every

ing, he has a sanity

man

week is

;

but, in the

always return-

and revelations which

in

new worlds he will carry with him. Never mind the ridicule, never mind the his passage into


EXPERIENCE

86 defeat;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

there

true

up is

again, old heart!

victory yet for

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

all

romance which the world

it

seems to

justice;

say,

and the

exists to realize

will

be the transformation of genius into prac-

tical

power.'


Ill

CHARACTER The

sun

set

Stars rose

;

;

but

set

his faith

not his hope:

was

earlier

up:

Fixed on the enormous galaxy.

Deeper and older seemed

his eye:

And matched his sufferance The taciturnity of time.

He

spoke, and

words more

sublime

soft

than rain

Brought the Age of Gold again:

His action

won

As hid

measure of the

all

such reverence sweet. feat.


Work

He

of his hand

nor

commends nor

grieves:

Pleads for itself the fact;

As unrepenting Nature

Her

every act.

leaves


CHARACTER HAVE read that those'who listened to Lord

I

Chatham

in the

man

that there was something finer

felt

than anything which he

been complained of our

brilliant

said.

It has

English histo-

French Revolution that when he has his facts about Mirabeau, they do not

rian of the

told

all

The

justify his estimate of his genius.

heroes,

own Sir

Grac-

Cleomenes, and others of Plutarch's

chi, Agis,

do not

in the record of facts equal their

Sir Philip Sidney, the Earl

fame.

of Essex,

Walter Raleigh, are men of great figure and

of few deeds.

We

cannot find the smallest part

of the personal weight of Washington in the narrative of his exploits.

name of

Schiller

is

The

authority of the

This inequality of the reputation or the anecdotes

is

books.

to the

works

not accounted for by saying

that the reverberation der-clap, but

his

too great for

is

longer than the thun-

somewhat resided

in

these

which begot an expectation that outran performance.

was ter,

latent.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

The

This

is

all

largest part of their

that

which we

call

men their

power

Charac-

a reserved force, which acts directly

presence and without means.

It

is

by

conceived of


CHARACTER

90

undemonstrable

as a certain

force, a Familiar or

Genius, by whose impulses the

man

but whose counsels he cannot impart

company

for him, so that such

which

;

men

they chance to be

solitary, or if

guided,

is

is

are often

do not

social,

need society but can entertain themselves very

The

well alone.

purest literary talent appears

one time great,

at

character

eloquence,

ity,

and undiminishable

stellar

What others effect by talent or by this man accomplishes by some mag-

" Half

netism.

His

of a

is

greatness.

at another time small, but

his strength

victories are

he put not forth."

by demonstration of superior-

and not by crossing of bayonets.

He

quers because his arrival alters the face of

"

O

lole

how

!

was a god

?

"

'

When see

I

him

did you know that Hercules " Because," answered lole, " I

moment my

was content the

beheld Theseus,

I

eyes

in the chariot-race

;

fell

desired that

offer battle, or at least

for a contest;

con-

affairs.

on him. I

might

guide his horses

but Hercules did not wait

he conquered whether he stood,

or walked, or sat, or whatever thing he did."

Man,

ordinarily a pendant to events, only half

attached, and that awkwardly, to the world he lives in, in these life

examples appears to share the

of things, and to be an expression of the


CHARACTER

91

same laws which control the tides and the sun, numbers and quantities. But to use a more modest illustration and nearer home, I observe that in our political elections, where this element, if it appears at all, can only occur in its coarsest form, we sufficiently understand

its

incomparable

rate.

The

know that they need in their representative much more than talent, namely the power to make his talent trusted. They cannot come people

at their

ends by sending to Congress a learned,

acute and fluent speaker,

if

he be not one who,

before he was appointed by the people to re-

present them, was appointed by Almighty to stand for a fact, that fact in himself,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

God

invincibly persuaded of so that the most confi-

dent and the most violent persons learn that here

is

resistance

on which both impudence and

terror are wasted,

men who

namely

faith in a fact.'

The

do not need to inquire of their constituents what they should say, but are themselves the country which they carry their points

represent; nowhere are so instant and true as in

from a

selfish

its

emotions or opinions

them

infusion.

;

The

nowhere so pure constituency at

home hearkens

to their words, watches the color

of their cheek,

and

therein, as in a glass, dresses


CHARACTER

92

own. Our public assemblies are pretty good of manly force. Our frank countrymen

its

tests

of the west and south have a taste for character,

and

lander

like to

is

know whether

a substantial

the

New Eng-

man, or whether the hand

can pass through him.

The same motive There

force

appears in trade.

are geniuses in trade, as well as in war,

or the State, or letters this or that

man is man

and the reason why

;

fortunate

not to be told.

is

anybody can tell you about it.' See him and you will know as easily why he succeeds, as, if you see Napoleon, you would comprehend his fortune. In the new objects we recognize the old game, the habit of fronting the fact, and not dealing with it at second hand, through the perceptions of somebody else. Nature seems to authorize trade, as soon as you see the natural merchant, who appears It lies in the

not so

;

much

that

is all

a private agent as her factor

Minister of Commerce.

combines with society to put

municates to are of his

his

natural probity

insight into the fabric of

him above

all

His

his

own

tricks, faith

no private interpretation.

mind

is

and

and he comthat contracts

The

habit of

a reference to standards of natural

equity and public advantage

;

and he

inspires


CHARACTER and the wish

respect

93

to deal with him, both for

the quiet spirit of honor which attends him, and for the intellectual pastime which the spectacle

much

of so

ability

affords.

makes the capes of the

stretched trade, which

Southern Ocean

his

This immensely

wharves and the Atlantic

Sea his familiar port, centres in his brain only

and nobody good.

in the universe can

In his parlor

I

make

see very well

his place

he

that

work this morning, with that brow and that settled humor, which

has been at hard knitted all

his desire to be courteous cannot

shake

off.

how many firm acts have been done how many valiant noes have this day been spoken, when others would have uttered I

see plainly ;

ruinous jyi?ÂŤj.

I

see,

with the pride of art and

skill of masterly arithmetic and power of remote combination, the consciousness of being

an agent and playfellow of the original laws

of the world.

He

too believes that none can

supply him, and that a trade or he cannot learn

man must

be born to

it.'

This virtue draws the mind more when appears in action to ends not so mixed.

it

It

works with most energy in the smallest companies and in private relations. In all cases It is an extraordinary and incomputable agent. The


CHARACTER

94

excess of physical strength

is

paralyzed by

it.

Higher natures overpower lower ones by affecting them with a certain sleep. The faculties are locked up, and offer no resistance. Perhaps that

is

When

the universal law.

not bring up the low to

man charms down

Men

animals.

occult power.

his eyes

exert

How

as

on each other

a similar

often has the influence of a

the tales of magic

all

light, like

!

A

an Ohio or Danube,

which pervaded them with all

his

thoughts and

events with the hue of his mind.

"What means tion

it,

command seemed to run down from into all those who beheld him, a torrent

of strong sad

colored

benumbs

the resistance of the lower

true master realized river of

itself, it

the high can-

did

you employ?" was the ques-

asked of the wife of Concini, in regard

Mary of Medici and the answer was, " Only that influence which every to her treatment of

;

strong mind has over a weak one."

'

Cannot

Csesar in irons shufHe off the irons and transfer

them

to the person of

turnkey

?

Is

Hippo

or Thraso the

an iron handcuff so immutable

bond ? Suppose a slaver on the coast of Guinea should take on board a gang of negroes which should contain persons of the stamp of a

Toussaint L'Ouverture

:

or, let

us fancy, under


CHARACTER these swarthy

masks he has

When

tons in chains.

a

gang of Washing-

they arrive at Cuba, will

the relative order of the ship's

same

company be

nothing but rope and iron

Is there

?

95

there no love, no reverence

Is there

?

?

the Is

never a

glimpse of right

in a poor slave-captain's mind and cannot these be supposed available to break or elude or in any manner overmatch the tension of an inch or two of iron ring ? This is a natural power, like light and heat, and all nature cooperates with it. The reason why we feel one man's presence and do not feel another's is as simple as gravity. Truth is the summit of being justice is the application of ;

;

it

All individual natures stand in a

to affairs.

scale,

according to the purity of this element in

The

them.

them

will

of the pure runs

from

a higher into a lower vessel.

force

is

no more

natural for a all

force.

moment

We

into the

air, ;

which somebody credited, it is

but

it is

is

yet true that

and whatever instances theft, or

justice

must

the privilege of truth to

Character

any other

can drive a stone upward

can be quoted of unpunished

believed.

This natural

to be withstood than

stones will forever fall

and

down from down

into other natures, as water runs

this

of a

lie

prevail,

make

itself

moral order seen


CHARACTER

96

through the medium of an individual nature.

An

individual

liberty

and

is

Time and space, and thought, are left

an encloser.

necessity, truth

no longer. Now, the universe

at large

or pound.

with the manners of his soul. ity

him he infuses

in

is

reach

all

nature that he can

nor does he tend to lose himself

;

ness, but, at

how long

regards return into his

animates

all

animates.

a close

is

man tinged With what qual-

All things exist in the

a curve

soever,

own good

in vasthis

all

He

at last.'

he can, and he sees only what he

He

encloses the world, as the patriot

does his country, as a material basis for character,

and a theatre

for action.

A

his

healthy

soul stands united with the Just and the True, as the

magnet arranges

that he stands to

object betwixt

all

itself

with the pole

;

so

beholders like a transparent

them and the sun, and whoso

journeys towards the sun, journeys towards that

He

person.

influence to

is

all

Thus men of

thus the

who

medium of

are not

level.

character are the conscience of

the society to which they belong.

The

the highest

on the same "^

natural measure of this

power is the resistance of circumstances. Impure men consider life as it is reflected in opinions, events and persons.

They cannot

see the action until

it is


CHARACTER

97

Yet its moral element preexisted in the and its quality as right or wrong it was easy to predict. Everything in nature is bipolar, or has a positive and a negative pole. There is a male and a female, a spirit and a fact, a north and a south. Spirit is the positive, the event is done.

actor,

the negative. pole.

Will is the north, action the south

Character

may

be ranked as having

natural place in the north.

are

drawn

look

The

They do not wish

to be loved. their faults ;

They They

hurt of the action.

never behold a principle until

of faults

feeble souls

to the south or negative pole.

at the profit or

person.

mag-

It shares the

netic currents of the system.

;

Men

it is

its

lodged in a

to be lovely, but

of character like to hear of

the other class do not like to hear

they worship events

;

secure to

them

a fact, a connection, a certain chain of circumstances,

and they

will

ask no more.

The

hero

must follow him.^ A given order of events has no power to secure to him the satisfaction which the imasees that the eirent

is

gination attaches to

ancillary

it

;

;

it

the soul of goodness

escapes from any set of circumstances

;

whilst

prosperity belongs to a certain mind, and will

introduce that power and victory which nattiral fruit, into any order of events.

is

its

No change


CHARACTER

98

of circumstances can repair a defect of character.

We

many

boast our emancipation from

stitions

but

;

if

we have broken any

through a transfer of the idolatry. I

super-

idols

What

it is

have

gained, that I no longer immolate a bull to

Jove or to Neptune, or a mouse to Hecate that I do not tremble before the Eumenides, or ;

the Catholic Purgatory, or the Calvinistic Judg-

ment-day,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

if I

opinion as we

quake

call it

;

at opinion, the

public

or at the threat of assault,

or contumely, or bad neighbors, or poverty, or mutilation, or at the

murder ? quake at

rumor of revolution, or of

If I quake, what matters

Our proper

?

vice takes

it

form

what

I

one

in

or another shape, according to the sex, age, or

temperament of the person, and,

if

we

are capa-

The covetousness or the malignity which saddens me when I ascribe it to society, is my own. I am always ble of fear, will readily find terrors.'

environed by myself.

On

the other part, recti-

tude

is

cries

of joy but by serenity, which

a perpetual victory, celebrated not

or habitual.

It

is

is

The

cap-

does not run every hour to the broker to

coin his advantages into current

realm

joy fixed

disgraceful to fly to events for

confirmation of our truth and worth. italist

by

;

he

is

money of

the

satisfied to read in the quotations


CHARACTER

99

The

of the market that his stocks have risen.

same transport which the occurrence of the best events in the best order would occasion me, I must learn to taste purer in the perception that my position is every hour meliorated, and

command

does already

That

exultation

is

those events

desire.

I

only to be checked by the

foresight of an order of things so excellent as to throw

our prosperities into the deepest

all

shade.

The

face

sufEcingness.

so that

I

me is selfperson who is riches

which character wears to I

revere the

;

cannot think of him as alone, or poor,

or exiled, or unhappy, or a client, but as perpetual

patron,

Character

is

benefactor and

centrality, the impossibility

A

ing displaced or overset.

us a sense of mass. shreds

its

Society

day into scraps,

man

I shall

tertained if he give

me

volence and etiquette

of be-

man should

give

frivolous,

and

is

conversation into

go to see an think myself poorly en-

ceremonies and escapes. Ingenious

its

But

man.

beatified

nimble pieces of benerather he shall

;

stoutly in his place and let

were only his resistance

if I

;

me

know It

if it

that I have en-

countered a new and positive quality refreshment for both of us.

stand

apprehend,

is

;

much

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

great

that he


CHARACTER

loo

does not accept the conventional opinions and

That non-conformity

practices.

will

remain

a

goad and remembrancer, and every inquirer will have to dispose of him, in the first place. There is

nothing

real or useful that is

Our houses and

gossip, but

critical

it

helps

uncivil, unavailable

man, who

a threat to society,

whom

must

silence but

to

whom

all

;

it

is

personal

But the problem and

little.

a

cannot

pass in

let

either worship or hate,

parties feel related,

ers of opinion

he helps

not a seat of war.

ring with laughter and

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

both the lead-

and the obscure and

eccentric,

he puts America and Europe in the

wrong, and destroys the scepticism which '

Man

is

a doll, let us eat

and drink,

says,

't is

the

we can do,' by illuminating the untried and unknown. Acquiescence in the establishment best

and appeal to the public, indicate infirm faith, heads which are not clear, and which must see a house built before they can

plan of

it.

The

wise

man

comprehend

the

not only leaves out

of his thought the many, but leaves out the few.

the

Fountains,' the self-moved, the absorbed,

commander because he

assured,

the primary,

is

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; they

commanded, are good ;

the for

these announce the instant presence of supreme

power.


CHARACTER Our

loi

action should rest mathematically on our

In nature there are no

substance.

false

valua-

A

pound of water in the ocean-tempest has no more gravity than in a midsummer pond. All things work exactly according to their qualtions.

ity

and according

to

their

quantity

man

nothing they cannot do, except has pretension

beyond

attempt

;

only.

He

he wishes and attempts things

;

his force.

I

read in a

book of English Lord Hol-

memoirs, " Mr. Fox (afterwards served up to

must have the Treasury it, and would have it."

phon and

Ten Thousand were

land) said, he

his

;

he had

Xeno-

quite equal

what they attempted, and did it; so equal, that it was not suspected to be a grand and inimitable exploit. Yet there stands that fact to

unrepeated, a high-water tory.

Many

been equal to

mark

have, attempted it.

It

is

it

only on

power of action can be based. will

in military his-

since,

and not any

reality that

No

be better than the institutor.

institution I

knew an

amiable and accomplished person who undertook a practical reform, yet I was never able to find in

him the

in hand.'

He

enterprise of love he took

adopted

it

by ear and by the

understanding from the books he reading.

had been

All his action was tentative, a piece


CHARACTER

102

of the

city carried

the city

still,

out into the

and no new

fact,

fields,

and was

and could not

Had there been something man, a terrible undemonstrated genius agitating and embarrassing his demeanor, we had watched for its advent. It is not enough that the intellect should see the evils and their inspire enthusiasm. latent

in the

We

remedy.

shall

postpone our existence,

still

nor take the ground to which whilst

it

are entitled,

only a thought and not a

is

that incites us. to

we

We

spirit

have not yet served up

it.

These trait

is

properties

are

of

life,

Men

the notice of incessant growth.

should be intelligent and earnest. also

and another

make us

feel that

They must

they have a controlling

happy future opening before them, whose twilights already kindle in the passing

The

hero

is

blunders

;

he

is

claims on your heart,

you have

;

he

any man's

again on his road, adding new

domain and new which will bankrupt you

powers and honors to if

hour.'

misconceived and misreported

cannot therefore wait to unravel

early

his

loitered about the old things and

have not kept your relation to him by adding to

your wealth.

logies

New

actions are the only apo-

and explanations of old ones which

the


CHARACTER

103

noble can bear to offer or to receive.

you

friend has displeased you, to consider

it,

If your

of the passage, and has doubled

you can

serve you, and ere

down memory

shall not sit

for he has already lost all

rise

power

his

up

to

again will

burden you with blessings.

We

have no pleasure

nevolence that

Love its

is

in

thinking of a be-

only measured by

is

inexhaustible, and if

granary emptied,

still

its

its

works.

is

wasted,

estate

cheers and enriches,

and the man, though he sleep, seems to purify the air and his house to adorn the landscape and strengthen the lent,

People always recog-

laws.

nize this difference.

We

know who

is

benevo-

by quite other means than the amount

of subscription to soup-societies. that

merits

can

be

enumerated.

It

is

only low

Fear,

when

your friends say to you what you have done but when they stand well, and say it through with uncertain timid looks of respect and half;

and must suspend their judgment for years to come, you may begin to hope.' Those who live to the future must always appear selfish to those who live to the present. Theredislike,

in the good Riemer, who has Goethe, to make out a list of memoirs written of his donations and good deeds, as, so many

fore

it

was droll


CHARACTER

104

hundred

Hegel, to

thalers given to Stilling, to

Tischbein

a lucrative place

;

sor Voss, a post under the

found for Profes-

Grand Duke

for

Herder, a pension for Meyer, two professors

recommended

The

longest

to foreign universities

ture if he

is

etc., etc.

of specifications of benefit

list

would look very

;

A

short.

to be

man

measured

a

is

poor

For

so.

all

crea-

these

of course are exceptions, and the rule and hodiurnal

life

of a good

true charity of

man

Goethe

is

is

benefaction.

The

to be inferred from

Eckermann of the way in which he had spent his fortune. " Each bonmot of mine has cost a purse of gold. Haifa milhon of my own money, the fortune I inherthe account he gave Dr.

my from my

and the large income derived writings for fifty years back, have been salary

ited,

expended to instruct I have besides seen," I

own

it is

to enumerate

me

in

what

I

now know.

etc.

but poor chat and gossip to go traits of this simple and rapid

power, and we are painting the lightning with charcoal tions

but

I

;

but in these long nights and vaca-

like

itself

to

console myself so.

can copy

heart enriches me.

How

death-cold

is

it.

I

A word

Nothing

warm from

the

surrender at discretion.

literary genius

before this


CHARACTER fire

of

mate

life

my

These

!

105

are the touches that reani-

heavy soul and give

the dark of nature.

I

find,

it

eyes to pierce

where

I

thought

I most rich. Thence comes a new intellectual exaltation, to be again rebuked by some new exhibition of character. Strange alternation of attraction and repulsion

myself poor, there was

!

Character repudiates

intellect,

yet

excites

it

and character passes into thought, is published so, and then is ashamed before new flashes of moral worth. Character is

is

nature in the highest form.

of no use to ape

Somewhat sistence,

is

it

It

or to contend with

it.

and of perpower, which

possible of resistance,

and of

creation, to this

will foil all emulation.

This masterpiece

is

no hands but

best where

nature's have been laid

on

it.

Care

that the greatly-destined shall slip in the shade, with

up

is

taken

into

life

no thousand-eyed Athens

to

watch and blazon every new thought, every blushing emotion of young genius. sons

lately,

I

per-

very young children of the most

high God, have given

When

Two

me

occasion for thought.

explored the source of their sanctity

and charm

for the imagination,

each answered,

*

it

seemed

as if

From my non-conformity

;

I


CHARACTER

io6

never listened to your people's law, or to what they

my

and wasted

their gospel,

call

time.

I

was content with the simple rural poverty of

my own

;

hence

this sweetness

reminds you of

that,

nature advertises

me

in

;

my work

never

that.'

And

such persons that

in de-

is

pure of

mocratic America she will not be democratized.'

How cloistered

and constitutionally sequestered

It was from the market and from scandal some I sent away wild morning that only this !

flowers of these wood-gods.

from

literature,

They

sources of thought and sentiment in an age

are a relief

these fresh draughts from the ;

as

of polish and criticism, the

we

of written prose and verse of a nation. captivating

is

read,

first lines

How

their devotion to their favorite

books, whether i^schylus, Dante, Shakspeare, or Scott, as feeling that they have a stake in that

book

who

;

touches that, touches them,

and especially the total solitude of the critic, the Patmos of thought from which he writes, in unconsciousness of any eyes that shall ever

Could they dream on still, as angels, and not wake to comparisons and to be flattered Yet some natures are too good to be spoiled by praise, and wherever the vein of

read this writing.

!

thought reaches down into the profound, there


CHARACTER is

no danger from

vanity.

Solemn

107 friends will

warn them of the danger of the head's being turned by the flourish of trumpets, but they can afford to smile.

I

remember the

indig-

nation of an eloquent Methodist at the kind

admonitions of a Doctor of Divinity, friend, a

man

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 'My

can neither be praised nor in-

But forgive the counsels they are very natural. I remember the thought which occurred to me when some ingenious and spiritual foreigners came to America, was. Have you been victimized in being brought hither? or, prior to that, answer me this, Are you sulted.'

"

;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

'

victimizable

As

?

^ '

Nature keeps these sovereignties in her own hands, and however pertly our sermons and disciplines would divide some share I

have

said.

of credit, and teach that the laws fashion the zen, she goes her

own

gait

citi-

and puts the wisest

She makes very light of gospels and prophets, as one who has a great many more to produce and no excess of time to spare on any one. There is a class of men, individuals

in the

wrong.

of which appear

endowed

at

long intervals, so eminently

with insight

and virtue that they have

been unanimously saluted as divine, and who to be an accumulation of that power we

seem


CHARACTER

io8

Divine persons are character born,

consider. to

borrow

a

phrase from Napoleon, they

victory organized.

with

ill-will,

They

or,

are

are usually received

because they are new and because

they set a bound to the exaggeration that has

been made of the personality of the

last divine

Nature never rhymes her children, nor makes two men alike. When we see a great man we fancy a resemblance to some historical person, and predict the sequel of his character and

person.

fortune

None

;

a result which he

will

is

sure to disappoint.

ever solve the problem of his char-

acter according to our prejudice, but only in his

own high unprecedented way. Character wants room must not be crowded on by persons nor ;

be judged from glimpses got in the press of fairs

or

on ftw

as a great building.

not,

It

af-

It

needs perspective,

may

not, probably does

occasions.

form relations rapidly

;

and we should not on the popular

require rash explanation, either ethics, or I

on our own, of

look on Sculpture

its

as

action.

history.

I

do not

think the Apollo and the Jove impossible in flesh

Every trait which the stone he had seen in life, and

and blood.

recorded in

than his copy.

We

artist

better

have seen many counterfeits,

but we are born believers in great men.

How


CHARACTER easily

we

read in old books,

109

when men were

few,

of the smallest action of the patriarchs.

man should

require that a

lumnar

be so large and co-

in the landscape, that

to be recorded that he arose, loins,

and departed

We

it

should deserve

and girded up

to such a place.

credible pictures are those of majestic

his

The most men who

prevailed at their entrance, and convinced the senses

;

as

happened

to the eastern

magian who

was sent to test the merits of Zertusht or Zo" When the Yunani sage arrived at roaster. Balkh, the Persians a

tell

us,

Gushtasp appointed

day on which the Mobeds of every country

should assemble, and a golden chair was placed

Yunani sage. Then the beloved of Yezdam, the prophet Zertusht, advanced into the midst of the assembly. The Yunani sage, on seeing that chief, said, This form and this gait for the

'

and nothing but truth can proceed Plato said it was impossible not from them.' " to believe in the children of the gods, " though cannot

lie,

"

they should speak without probable or necessary

arguments."

happy

in

'

my

I

should think myself very un-

associates if

I

could not credit the

" John Bradshaw," says " like consul, from whom the appears a Milton,

best things in history.

fasces are not to depart with the year; so that


CHARACTER

no

not on the tribunal only, but throughout his

you would regard him

upon kings." is

I find

'

as sitting in it

more

judgment

credible, since

it

one man should

anterior information, that

know heaven,

life,

Chinese say, than that so the world. " The vir-

as the

many men should know

tuous prince confronts the gods, without any misgiving.

He

hundred ages

waits a

He who

comes, and does not doubt.

the gods, without any misgiving,

he

who

waits a

hundred ages

till

a sage

confronts

knows heaven

until a sage comes,

without doubting, knows men.

Hence

the vir-

tuous prince moves, and for ages shows empire the way."

rience

But there

He

is

no need

to seek remote

whose expehas not taught him the reality and force

examples.

a dull observer

is

The

of magic, as well

as

precisian cannot

go abroad without encounter-

of chemistry.

coldest

One man fastens an memory ren-

ing inexplicable influences.

eye on him and the graves of the der up their dead

;

the secrets that

make him

wretched either to keep or to betray must be yielded

;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; another, and

the bones of his lages

;

he cannot speak, and

body seem

to lose their carti-

the entrance of a friend adds grace, bold-

ness and eloquence to him

;

and there

sons he cannot choose but remember,

are per-

who

gave


CHARACTER a.

iii

transcendent expansion to his thought, and

kindled another

What amity,

The

so

is

bosom.

in his

life

excellent as

when they

strict

relations of

spring from this deep root

the power and the furniture of man, possibility of joyful

which makes the

men.

able

faith

is

in that

intercourse with persons,

and

practice of

know nothing which

I

?

who doubts

sufficient reply to the skeptic

offer so satisfying as the

all

reason-

life

has to

profound good under-

much exchange between two virtuous men, each

standing which can subsist, after

of good

offices,

of whom It

is

sure of himself and sure of his friend.

is

a happiness

which postpones

all

other grati-

and makes politics, and commerce, and For when men shall meet as they ought, each a benefactor, a shower of stars, clothed with thoughts, with deeds, with accom-

fications,

churches, cheap.

plishments,

which

all

it

should be the

things announce.

love in the sexes

is

the

first

things are symbols of love.

festival

of nature

Of such

friendship,

symbol,

as all other

Those relations to we reckoned

the best men, which, at one time,

the romances of youth, become, in the progress

of the character, the most solid enjoyment. If

with

it

were possible to

men

,!

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

if

live in right relations

we could

abstain

from asking


CHARACTER

112

anything of them, from asking their praise, or help, or pity,

and content us with compelling

them through the virtue of the eldest Could we not deal with a few persons, one person,

laws

!

— with

after the

unwritten statutes, and

make an experiment of their efficacy ? Could we not pay our friend the- compliment of truth, of silence, of forbearing ? Need we be so eager to seek him ? If we are related, we shall meet. It

was a tradition of the ancient world that no a god from Greek verse which runs,

metamorphosis could hide and there

is

a

" The Gods

god

a

are to each other not

unknown."

'

Friends also follow the laws of divine necessity

;

they gravitate to each other, and cannot otherwise

:

When

each the other

Their relation

is

shall avoid.

by each be most enjoyed. ^

Shall each

not made, but allowed.

The

gods must seat themselves without seneschal our Olympus, and

as

by seniority divine. Society

is

are taken, if the associates are

to meet.

And

if it

spoiled

if

best.

pains

brought a mile

be not society,

a mis-

it is

chievous, low, degrading jangle, though

up of the

in

they can instal themselves

All the greatness of each

is

made kept


CHARACTER back and every foible

113

in painful activity, as if

the Olympians should meet to exchange snuffboxes. Life goes headlong.

We

chase

scheme, or we are hunted by some

some

flying

fear or

com-

mand behind

us. But if suddenly we encounter we pause our heat and hurry look enough; now pause, now possession is

a friend, foolish

;

required, and the power to swell the moment from the resources of the heart. The moment is all,

in all noble relations.

A divine person a friend

is

is

the prophecy of the mind;

the hope of the heart.

Our

beatitude

waits for the fulfilment of these two in one.

The

ages are opening this moral force.

All force

shadow or symbol of that. Poetry is joyful and strong as it draws its inspiration thence. Men write their names on the world as they are is

the

filled

with

this.

History has been mean

nations have been a

man

:

mobs

that divine

;

our

;

we have never

seen

form we do not yet know,

but only the dream and prophecy of such

we do not know the majestic manners which belong to him, which appease and exalt the beholder. We shall one day see that the most private is :

the most public energy, that quality atones for quantity, and grandeur of character acts in the


CHARACTER

114

dark, and succors them

who never saw

greatness has yet appeared

encouragements to us

What

beginnings and

is

this direction.

in

and

history of those gods

it.

The

which the world

saints

has written and then worshipped, are documents

The

of character.

ages have exulted in the

manners of a youth who owed nothing to fortune, and who was hanged at the Tyburn of his nation, who, by the pure quality of his nature, shed an epic splendor around the facts of his death which has transfigured every particular into an universal

symbol

for the eyes of

man-

This great defeat is hitherto our highest But the mind requires a victory to the senses a force of character which will convert judge, jury, soldier and king which will rule animal and mineral virtues, and blend with the kind. fact.

;

;

courses of sap, of rivers, of winds, of stars, and

of moral agents. If

we cannot

attain

grandeurs, at least

let

at

a

bound

us do them

In society, high advantages are the possessor as disadvantages.

more wariness

in

not forgive in

my

fine character

and to

hospitality."

set

to

down

friends the failure to entertain,

to

It requires the

our private estimates.

When

these

homage.

it

at last that

I

do

know

a

with thankful

which we have


CHARACTER always longed for

115

arrived and shines

is

with glad rays out of that

on us

far celestial land,

then

and

such

to be coarse, then to be critical

treat

a visitant with the jabber and suspicion of the

argues a vulgarity that seems to shut

streets,

the doors of heaven. This right insanity,

when

own, nor where

its

due.

Is there

knows

the soul no longer allegiance,

its

any

confusion, this the

is

but

religion

its

religion, are

know

to

this,

that wherever in the wide desert of being the

holy sentiment we cherish has opened into a flower, it

;

the

I

blooms

it

am

aware,

Whilst

fact.

for if I it

me

?

if

none

sees

it,

see

I

alone, of the greatness of

blooms,

or holy time, and suspend

I will

keep sabbath

my gloom

and

my

and jokes. Nature is indulged by the preThere are many eyes that and honor the prudent and housecan detect

folly

sence of this guest.

hold virtues

Genius on incapable

;

there are

many

his starry track,

;

that can discern

though the

but when that love which

suffering, all-abstaining, all-aspiring,

vowed

mob

to itself that

it

will

is

is

all-

which has

be a wretch and also

a fool in this world sooner than soil

its

white

hands by any compliances, comes into our streets

and houses,

know pay

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; only the

its face,

it is

to

pure and aspiring can and the only compliment they can

own

it.


IV

MANNERS " How

near to good

Which we no But with the

Our

is

what

is fair!

sooner see.

lines

and outward

air

senses taken be.

Again yourselves compose.

And now

put

Of Figure, Or That

all

the aptness on

that Proportion

Color can disclose if

;

those silent arts were lost.

Design and Picture, they might boast

From you Instructed

Of dignity

a

newer ground.

by the heightening sense and reverence

In their true motions found."

Ben

Jonson.


MANNERS HALF

the world,

said, knows not how Our Exploring Expe-

it is

the other half live.

dition saw the Feejee islanders getting their din-

human bones own wives and

ner off their

;

and they

children.

are said to eat

The husbandry

of the modern inhabitants of Gournou (west of old Thebes)

up

is

philosophical to a fault.

housekeeping nothing

their

is

To

set

requisite but

two or three earthen pots, a stone to grind meal, and a mat which is the bed. The house, namely a

tomb,

ready without rent or taxes.

is

can pass through the roof, and there

is

No

rain

no door,

no want of one, as there is nothing to lose. If the house do not please them, they walk out and enter another, as there are several hundreds at their command. " It is somewhat singular," adds Belzoni, to whom we owe this for there

is

account, "to talk of happiness

who

live in sepulchres,

among

among people the corpses and

rags of an ancient nation which they

know no-

In the deserts of Borgoo the rockTibboos still dwell in caves, like cliff-swallows, and the language of these negroes is compared by their neighbors to the shrieking of bats and thing of"


MANNERS

120

Again, the Bornoos

to the whistling of birds.

have no proper names

individuals are called

;

after their height, thickness, or other accidental

salt,

But

and have nicknames merely.

quality,

the

the dates, the ivory, and the gold, for which

way

these horrible regions are visited, find their into countries where the purchaser

and consumer

can hardly be ranked in one race with these can-

and man-stealers

nibals

;

serves himself with metals,

gum,

wood, stone,

cotton, silk and wool

with architecture

; '

man

countries where

;

writes laws,

glass,

honors himself

and contrives

execute his will through the hands of

many

to

na-

tions; and, especially, establishes a select society,

running through

men, a

all

the countries of intelligent

self-constituted aristocracy, or fraternity

of the best, which, without written law or exact

usage of any kind, perpetuates

itself,

colonizes

every new-planted island and adopts and makes its

own whatever

personal beauty or extraordi-

nary native endowment anywhere appears.

What

fact

more conspicuous

in

modern

tory than the creation of the gentleman alry

is

that,

literature

from

and loyalty

is

that,

half the drama, and

Sir Philip

this figure.

?

his-

Chiv-

and

in English

all

the novels,

Sidney to Sir Waltef Scott, paint

The word

gentleman, which, like the


MANNERS word

Christian,

must

121

hereafter characterize the

present and the few preceding centuries by the

homage

to per-

sonal and incommunicable properties.'

Frivo-

importance attached to

a

it, is

lous and fantastic additions have got associated

with the name, but the steady interest of man-

perties

it must be attributed which it designates.

unites

all

kind in

to the valuable pro-

An

element which

the most forcible persons of every

country, makes them intelligible and agreeable to each other, is

at

sign,

once

and

felt if

somewhat

is

so precise that

it

an individual lack the masonic

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; cannot be any

casual product, but

must

be an average result of the character and faculties

universally found in men. It seems a certain

permanent average as the atmosphere is a permanent composition, whilst so many gases are combined only to be decompounded. Comme il faut, is the Frenchman's description of good ;

society: as

we must

be.

It

is

a spontaneous fruit

of talents and feelings of precisely that

class

who

have most vigor, who take the lead in the world of this hour, and though far from pure, far from constituting the gladdest and highest tone of

human permits

feeling, it

it is

to be.

as

It

is

good

as the

made of

than of the talent of men, and

whole society

the is

spirit,

a

more

compound


MANNERS

122

which every great force enters

result into

ingredient, namely

as

virtue, wit, beauty, wealth

an

and

power.

There

is

something equivocal

in all the

in use to express the excellence of social cultivation,

ional,

and the

words

manners and

because the quantities are flux-

last effect is

assumed by the senses

The word

gentleman has not any

as the cause.

correlative abstract to express the quality. tility

is

mean, and

we must keep

gentilesse"

obsolete.

is

Gen-

But

alive in the vernacular the dis-

between fashion, a word of narrow and meaning, and the heroic character sinister often tinction

which the gentleman imports.

The

however, must be respected

they will be found

;

to contain the root of the matter. distinction in

all this class

chivalry, fashion,

and

fruit,

and the

usual words,

The

point of

of names, as courtesy, like, is that the flower

not the grain of the

tree, are

contem-

It is beauty which is the aim this time, and not worth.' The result is now in question, although our words intimate well enough the

plated.

popular feeling that the appearance supposes

The gentleman is his own actions, and

substance. lord of

lordship in his behavior

pendent and

;

a

man

a

of truth,

expressing that

not in any manner de-

servile, either

on persons, or opin-


MANNERS

123

Beyond this fact of truth and real force, the word denotes good-nature or benevolence manhood first, and then gentle-

ions, or possessions.

:

The

ness.

popular notion certainly adds a con-

dition of ease

and fortune

;

but that

is

a natural

result of personal force and love, that they should

possess and dispense the goods of the world.

In

times of violence, every eminent person must fall

in with

many

opportunities to approve his

stoutness and worth

emerged

that

at all

;

therefore every man's

from the mass

name

in the feudal

ages rattles in our ear like a flourish of trum-

But personal force never goes out of fashThat is still paramount to-day, and in the moving crowd of good society the men of valor pets. ion.'

and

reality are

place.

The

to politics

known and

competition

and

trade,

is

rise to their natural

transferred from war

but the personal force

appears readily enough in these new arenas.

Power first, or no leading class. In politics and in trade, bruisers and pirates are of better promise than talkers and clerks. God knows that all sorts of gentlemen knock at the door;^ but whenever used in strictness and with any emphasis, the name will be found to point at original energy. in his

It describes a

own right and working

man after

standing

untaught


MANNERS

124

In a good lord there must

methods.

good animal,

at least to

first

the extent of yielding

the incomparable advantage of animal

The ruling class must have have these, giving

in

be a

spirits.

more, but they must

every company the sense

of power, which makes things easy to be done

which daunt the ergetic class, in ings,

is

The

wise.'

and

festive meet-

of courage and of attempts which

full

intimidate the pale scholar.

The

a sea-fight.

The

courage which

of Lundy's Lane, or

girls exhibit is like a battle

make some

society of the en-

their friendly

intellect relies

on memory

to

supplies to face these extemporane-

ous squadrons. But

memory is

a base

mendicant

with basket and badge, in the presence of these

sudden masters. The

up

to the

versatile office

tern,

rulers of society

work of the world, and equal :

who have

men of

must be to their

the right Caesarian pat-

great range of affinity.

I

am

far

from believing the timid maxim of Lord Falkland (" that for ceremony there must go two to it;

go through the cun-

since a bold fellow will

ningest forms "), and

gentleman

is

am

not to be broken through teous nature

of opinion that the

the bold fellow whose forms are

is

;

and only that plenwhich is the com-

rightful master

plement of whatever person

it

converses with.


MANNERS

My

125

gentleman gives the law where he

is

he

;

outpray saints in chapel, outgeneral veterans

will

in the field,

He

is

and outshine

all

courtesy in the

hall.

.good company for pirates and good with

academicians

;

so that

useless to fortify your-

it is

him he has the private entrance to all minds, and I could as easily exclude myself, as him. The famous gentlemen of Asia and Europe have been of this strong type Saladin,

self against

;

;

Sapor, the Cid,' Julius Caesar, Scipio, Alexander,

and the

Pericles, sat

personages.

lordliest

very carelessly

their chairs,

in

They

and were too

excellent themselves, to value any condition at a high rate.

A

plentiful fortune

is

reckoned necessary,

in

the popular judgment, to the completion of this

man of

the world

;

and

it

is

a material deputy

which walks through the dance which the

Money

has led.

is

not essential, but

this

first

wide

affinity is,

which transcends the habits of clique

and

and makes

caste

classes.

itself felt

If the aristocrat

is

by men of

all

only valid in fashion-

able circles and not with truckmen, he will never

be a leader

in fashion

;

and

if

the

man of

the

people cannot speak on equal terms with the

gentleman, so that the gentleman shall perceive that he

is

already really of his

own

order, he

is


MANNERS

126

not to be feared. Diogenes, Socrates, and

Epamwho

inondas, are gentlemen of the best blood

have chosen the condition of poverty when that of wealth was equally open to them. I use these old names, but the men I speak of are my contemporaries.'

Fortune

will

not supply to every

generation one of these well-appointed knights,

men furnishes some example of the class and the politics of this country, and the trade of every town, are controlled by these hardy and irresponsible doers, who have invention to take the lead, and a broad sympathy which puts them in fellowship with crowds, and makes their action popular. The manners of this class are observed and caught with devotion by men of taste. The asbut every collection of ;

sociation of these masters with each other and

with

men

intelligent

of their merits,

agreeable and stimulating.

is

The good

mutually

forms, the

happiest expressions of each, are repeated and

adopted.

ous

is

By

swift consent everything superflu-

dropped, everything graceful

is

renewed.

Fine manners show themselves formidable to the uncultivated man.

They

are a subtler sci-

ence of defence to parry and intimidate

once matched by the

skill

;

but

of the other party,

they drop the point of the sword,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

points and


MANNERS and the youth

fences disappear, a

127 finds himself in

more transparent atmosphere, wherein

life is

a less troublesome game, and not a misunder-

standing

aim to

rises

between the players.

facilitate life, to

Manners

get rid of impediments

and bring the man pure to energize. They aid our dealing and conversation as a railway aids travelling, by getting rid of all avoidable obstructions of the road and leaving nothing to be conquered but pure space.' These forms very soon become fixed, and a fine sense of propriety is cultivated with the more heed that it becomes a badge of social and civil distinctions. Thus grows up Fashion, an equivocal semblance, the most puissant, the most fantastic and frivolous, the most feared and followed, and which morals

and violence assault

There

in vain.

exists a strict relation

between the

class

of power and the exclusive and polished circles. The last are always filled or filling from the first.

The

strong

men

usually give

some allowance

even to the petulances of fashion, for that affinity

they find in

Napoleon, child of the

it.

re-

volution, destroyer of the old noblesse, never

ceased to court

the

Faubourg

St.

doubtless with the feeling that fashion

age to

men of

his

stamp.

Germain is

a

hom-

Fashion, though in a


MANNERS

128

strange way, represents

gone to seed

virtue

honor.

virtue.

a kind of

it is

:

manly

all

It

is

posthumous

does not often caress the great, but

It

the children of the great

it is

:

a hall of the Past.

It usually sets its face against the great of this

hour.

Great

men

are not

they are absent in the

not triumphing. children

Fashion

of those

;

commonly

field

:

is

in

halls

its

;

they are working,

made up of

who through

their

the value and

virtue of somebody, have acquired lustre to their

name, marks of

distinction,

means of

cultivation

and generosity, and

in their physical organiza-

tion a certain health

and excellence which secure highest power to work,

to them, if not the

yet high power to enjoy.

The

class

of power,

the working heroes, the Cortez, the Nelson, the

Napoleon, see that

manent is

this is the festivity

celebration of such as they

funded talent;

is

;

and

per-

that fashion

Mexico, Marengo and Tra-

falgar beaten out thin

;

that the brilliant

names

of fashion run back to just such busy names their

own,

fifty

or sixty years ago.

They

as

are

the sowers, their sons shall be the reapers, and their sons, in the ordinary course

of things, must

new comand stronger frames.

yield the possession of the harvest to petitors with keener eyes

The

city

is

recruited from the country.

In the


MANNERS year 1805, in

it

is

Europe was

129

every legitimate monarch

said,

The

imbecile.

city

would have

died out, rotted and exploded, long ago, but that

it

was reinforced from the

It is

fields.

only

country which came to town day before yester-

day that

is

city

and court

to-day.'

Aristocracy and fashion are certain inevitable

These mutual selections are indestructible. If they provoke anger in the least favored class, and the excluded majority revenge themselves on the excluding minority by the strong hand_ and kill them, at once a new class finds results.

itself at the top, as certainly as

bowl of milk

:

and

cream

rises in a

the people should destroy

if

class after class, until

two men only were

left,

one of these would be the leader and would be involuntarily served and copied by the other.

You may keep

this

out of mind, but

one of the

it

minority out of sight and is

tenacious of

estates of the realm.

struck with this tenacity,

when

I

life,

am

I see

and

is

the

more

its

work.

unimpornot look for any that we should tant matters, durability in its rule. We sometimes meet men It respects the administration of such

under some strong moral

influence, as a patri-

otic, a literary, a religious

movement, and feel man and nature.

that the moral sentiment rules


MANNERS

130

We

think

slight

and

example

all

other distinctions and

fugitive, this of caste or fashion for

yet

;

be

ties will

come from year

to year

how permanent that is, in this Boston York life of man, where too it has not countenance from the law of the land.

and or

see

New

the least

Not

in

Egypt or in India a firmer or more impassable line. Here are associations whose ties go over and under and through

it,

a

meeting of mer-

chants, a military corps, a college class, a

fire-

club, a professional association, a political, a re-

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

the persons seem tadraw

ligious convention

;

inseparably near

yet, that

persed, again.

;

members Each returns its

will

assembly once

dis-

not in the year meet

to his degree in the scale

of good society, porcelain remains porcelain, and earthen earthen.

The objects of fashion may be may be objectless, but the

frivolous, or fashion

nature of this union and selection can be neither

Each man's rank in on some symhis structure or some agreement in his to the symmetry of society. Its doors

frivolous nor accidental.

that perfect graduation depends

metry

in

structure

unbar instantaneously to a natural claim of their own kind. natural gentleman finds his way

A

in,

and

will

has lost his

keep the oldest patrician out who intrinsic rank.' Fashion understands


MANNERS itself;

131

good-breeding and personal superiority

of whatever country readily fraternize with those of every other.

The

chiefs of savage tribes

have

London and Paris by the purity of their tournure. To say what good of fashion we can, it rests on reality, and hates nothing so much as pre-

distinguished themselves in

tenders

;

to exclude

and mystify pretenders and

send them into everlasting

We

delight.

of

men

contemn

'

Coventry,'

is

in turn every other gift

of the world ; but the habit even in

and the

least matters

its

little

of not appealing to any

but our own sense of propriety, constitutes the foundation of

kind of

all

chivalry.

self-reliance, so

There

is

almost no

be sane and propor-

it

tioned, which fashion does not occasionally adopt

and give soul

is

it

the freedom of

saloons.

A sainted

if it will,

passes un-

its

always elegant, and,

challenged into the most guarded ring.

But so

Jock the teamster pass, in some crisis that him thither, and find favor, as long as his head is not giddy with the new circumstance, and the iron shoes do not wish to dance in waltzes and cotillons. For there is nothing setwill

brings

tled in manners, but the laws of behavior yield

to the energy of the individual.

her

first

ball,

The maiden

at

the countryman at a city dinner.


MANNERS

132 believes that there

is

a ritual according to which

every act and compliment must be performed, or the failing party must be cast out of this pre-

Later they learn that good sense and

sence.

character

make

and speak or or go,

sit

their

own forms every moment,

abstain, take wine or refuse

it,

stay

in a chair or sprawl with children on

the floor, or stand on their, head, or what else soever, in a

new and

strong will

is

aboriginal

way

always in fashion,

be unfashionable.

composure and

and

that

who

will

All that fashion demands

self-content,'

perfectly well-bred

;

let

would be

a

A

circle

is

of men

company of sensi-

ble persons in which every man's native manners

and character appeared. not this quality, he

is

If the fashionist have

nothing.

lovers of self-reliance that

many

he

sins If

will

show us

faction in his position,

We

we excuse a

are such in a

complete

man satis-

which asks no leave

to

be, of mine, or any man's good opinion.^ But any deference to some eminent man or woman

of the world,

He him

is ;

forfeits all

an underling I

will

:

I

privilege of nobility.

have nothing to do with

speak with his master.

A

man

should not go where he cannot carry his whole sphere or society with him,

whole

circle

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not

bodily, the

of his friends, but atmospherically.


MANNERS He

133

should preserve in a new company the same

mind and

attitude of

daily associates

of relation which his

reality

draw him

he

to, else

is

shorn of

beams, and will be an orphan in the merriest club. " If you could see Vich Ian Vohr

his best

with his

tail

on

!

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

"

But Vich Ian Vohr must in some fashion, if

always carry his belongings

not added as honor, then severed as disgrace.'

There

who

sons

always be in society certain per-

will

are mercuries of

whose glance

will at

its

approbation, and

any time determine for the

These are Accept

curious their standing in the world.

the chamberlains of the lesser gods. their coldness as loftier deities,

lege.

They

they

be

an

omen of

and allow them

grace with the their privi-

all

are clear in their office, nor could

thus

formidable without

own

their

But do not measure the importance of this class by their pretension, or imagine that a fop can be the dispenser of honor and shame.

merits.

They

pass also at their just rate

they otherwise, in

of herald's

As ity,

We

the

circles

which

office for the sifting

first

thing

man

so that appears in

;

for

can

exist as a sort

of character

requires of

all

how

man

is

?

real-

the forms of society.

pointedly, and by name, introduce the par-

ties to

each other.

Know you

before

all

heaven


MANNERS

134

and ory,

earth, that this

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; they

is

Andrew, and

this is

Greg-

look each other in the eye; they

grasp each other's hand, to identify and signal-

each other.

ize

It

is

a

gentleman never dodges

;

his eyes

look straight

forward, and he assures the other party,

of

that Is

it

For what

that he has been met.

all,

we

seek, in so

many

A

great satisfaction.

visits

and

first is

it

hospitalities.''

your draperies, pictures and decorations

?

Or do we

not insatiably ask.

Was

house

may

a great household

I

?

where there

easily

much

is

go into

a

man

in the

substance, excellent pro-

vision for comfort, luxury

and

taste,

and yet

who shall may go into

not encounter there any Amphitryon subordinate these appendages. a cottage, is

the

I

and find a farmer who

man

accordingly.

I

have come to It

see,

feels that

and

fronts

he

me

was therefore a very natural

point of old feudal etiquette that a gentleman

who

received a

visit,

though

it

were of

his sov-

ereign, should not leave his roof, but should

wait his arrival at the door of his house."

house, though curial, is

And

yet

pitality.

it

No

were the Tuileries or the Es-

good for anything without a master. we are not often gratified by this hosEverybody we know surrounds him-

self with a fine house, fine

books, conservatory,


MANNERS gardens, equipage and screens to interpose

Does

guest.

it

all

manner of

toys, as

between himself and his

not seem as

sly, elusive nature,

135

if

man was

of a very

and dreaded nothing so much

as a full rencontre front to front with his fellow? It

were unmerciful,

I

know, quite

to abolish the

use of these screens, which are of eminent convenience, whether the guest little.

We

call

together

too great or too

is

many

friends

who keep

each other in play, or by luxuries and orna-

ments we amuse the young people, and guard

Or

our retirement. realist

comes

to

if

perchance a searching

our gate, before whose eye we

have no care to stand, then again we run to our curtain,

and hide ourselves

voice of the

Lord God

as

Adam

in the garden.

at

the

Cardinal

Caprara, the Pope's legate at Paris, defended

himself from the glances of Napoleon by an

Napoleon remarked them, and speedily managed to rally them off: and yet Napoleon, in his turn, was not great enough, with eight hundred thousand

immense

pair

of green

spectacles.

troops at his back, to face a pair of freeborn eyes,

but

fenced

himself with

within triple barriers of reserve

world knows from

Madame

de

;

etiquette

and, as

Stael,

when he found himself observed,

all

and the

was wont,

to discharge


MANNERS

136

But emperors and rich men are by no means the most skilful masNo rent-roll nor armyters of good manners. list can dignify skulking and dissimulation and the first point of courtesy must always be truth, of

his face

expression.

all

;

as really all the

forms of good-breeding point

that way, I

have just been reading, in Mr. Hazlitt's

translation,

Montaigne's account of

into Italy,

and

am

his

journey

struck with nothing more

agreeably than the self-respecting fashions of the time.

His

arrival in each place, the arrival

of a gentleman of France,

is

an event of some

consequence. Wherever he goes he pays a to

visit

whatever prince or gentleman of note resides

upon

his road, as a

ization.

When

duty to himself and to

civil-

he leaves any house in which he

has lodged for a few weeks, he causes his arms

and hung up as a perpetual sign the house, as was the custom of gentlemen.

to be painted to

The complement of this graceful self-respect, and that of all the points of good-breeding I most require and insist upon, is deference. I like that every chair

hold a king.

I

should be a throne, and

prefer a tendency to stateliness

to an excess of fellowship.

nicable objects of nature

Let the incommu-

and the metaphysical


MANNERS

137

man teach us independence. Let too much acquainted. I would have

isolation of

us not be a

man

enter his house through a hall filled with

heroic and sacred sculptures, that he might not want the hint of tranquillity and self-poise.'

We

should meet each morning

as

from

for-

eign countries, and, spending the day together,

should depart

In

tries.

a

man

all

Let us

inviolate.

apart as the gods,

sit

talking from peak to peak

No

foreign coun-

at night, as into

things I would have the island of

round Olympus.

all

degree of affection need invade this religion.

This

is

sweet.

myrrh and rosemary

to

Lovers should guard

their strangeness.^

If they forgive too much, fusion and meanness.

It

all is

keep the other

slides into

con-

easy to push this

deference to a Chinese etiquette

;

but coolness

and absence of heat and haste indicate ities. A gentleman makes no noise;

fine qual-

our disgust

at those

serene.

invaders

Proportionate

who

fill

is

a studious

a lady

house with

is

blast

and running, to secure some paltry convenience. Not less I dislike a low sympathy of each with his neighbor's needs. Must we have a good understanding with one another's palates foolish

people

know when

who have

?

as

lived long together

each wants salt or sugar.

I

pray

my


MANNERS

138

companion,

he wishes for bread, to ask

if

me for

bread, and if he wishes for sassafras or arsenic, to ask

me

for

plate as if I

them, and not to hold out

knew

Every natural

already.

tion can be dignified

his

func-

by deliberation and privacy.

Let us leave hurry to slaves. The compliments and ceremonies of our breeding should recall,' however remotely, the grandeur of our destiny.

The

flower of courtesy does not very well

we dare to open another leaf and explore what parts go to its conformation, we shall find also an intellectual quality. To the leaders of men, the brain as well as the flesh and the heart must furnish a proportion. Defect in manners is usually the defect of fine bide handling, but if

perceptions.

Men

are too coarsely

delicacy of beautiful carriage

made

for the

and customs.

It

is

not quite sufficient to good-breeding, a union of kindness and independence. require a perception of, and a in

imperatively

homage

to beauty

our companions. Other virtues are in request

in the field

of taste I

We

is

and workyard, but

a certain degree

not to be spared in those

could better eat with one

who

we

sit

with.

did not respect

the truth or the laws than with a sloven and

unpresentable person.

Moral

world, but at short distances

qualities rule the

the senses are


MANNERS The same

despotic. fair

runs out,

life.

The

good

if

discrimination of

with less rigor, into

all

fit

and

parts of

average spirit of the energetic class

sense, acting

to certain ends.

Social in

139

its

under

certain limitations

is

and

It entertains every natural gift.

nature.

respects everything which

It

tends to unite men.

It

The

mainly the love of mea-

love of beauty

is

The

sure or proportion.

measure.

delights in

person

who

screams,

or uses the superlative degree, or converses with heat, puts

you wish

whole drawing-rooms

You must

have genius or a prodigious usefulness will hide the

comes

want of measure.

in to polish

social instrument.

genius and special

If

to flight.

to be loved, love measure.'

if

you

This perception

and perfect the parts of the Society will pardon gifts, but,

being in

much its

to

nature

it loves what is conventional, or what belongs to coming together.^ That makes the good and bad of manners, namely what

a convention,

helps or hinders fellowship.

good

For fashion

sense absolute, but relative

is

not

not good

;

sense private, but good sense entertaining com-

pany.

It

hates

corners and sharp points of

character, hates quarrelsome, egotistical, solitary

and gloomy people

;

hates whatever can inter-

fere with total blending of parties

;

whilst

it


MANNERS

140 values

all peculiarities

refreshing,

And

ship.

as in the highest degree

which can consist with good fellowbesides the general infusion of wit

to heighten civility, the direct splendor of intellectual

power

is

ever welcome in fine society as its rule and its credit. must shine in to adorn our must be tempered and shaded,

the costliest addition to

The dry festival,

but

light it

or that will also offend.'

Accuracy

is

essential

to beauty, and quick perceptions to politeness,

but not too quick perceptions. punctual and too precise.

He

One may must

be too

leave the

omniscience of business at the door, when he

comes

into the palace of beauty.

Society loves

and sleepy languishing manners, that they cover sense, grace and good-will so the air of drowsy strength, which disarms critCreole natures,

icism

;

perhaps because such a person seems to

reserve himself for the best of the game, and

not spend himself on surfaces; an ignoring

which does not see the annoyances,

shifts

eye,^

and

inconveniences that cloud the brow and smother the voice of the sensitive.

Therefore besides personal force and so much perception as constitutes unerring taste, society

demands

in its patrician class another element

already intimated, which

it

significantly terms


MANNERS good-nature, osity,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; expressing

141

degrees of gener-

all

from the lowest willingness and faculty

to oblige, up to the heights of magnanimity and love. Insight we must have, or we shall run against one another and miss the way to our

food

;

but intellect

selfish

is

secret of success in society

and sympathy.

company cannot that will

a

little

fit

is

A man who find

a certain heartiness is

any word

the occasion.

impertinent.

and barren. The

A

not happy in the in

his

memory

All his information

man who

is

happy

is

there,

finds in every turn of the conversation equally

lucky occasions

for

the introduction of that

which he has to say. The favorites of society, and what it calls whole souls, are able men and of more spirit than wit, who have no uncomfortable egotism, but who exactly fill the hour and the company contented and contenting, at ;

a marriage or a funeral, a ball or a jury, a water-

party or a shooting-match. rich in

England, which

is

gentlemen, furnished, in the beginning

of the present century, a good model of that genius which the world loves, in Mr. Fox,

added

who

most social dislove of men. Parliamentary

to his great abilities the

position and real

history has few better passages than the debate in

which Burke and Fox separated

in the

House


MANNERS

142

Fox urged on

of Commons; when

his old friend

the claims of old friendship with such tenderness that the house was

anecdote

is

moved

so close to

my

to tears.

Another

matter, that

must

I

A tradesman who had long dunned him for a note of three hundred guineas, found him one day counting gold, and demanded " No," said Fox, " I owe this payment. hazard the story.

money

to Sheridan

accident should to show." "

my

;

it is

happen

Then,"

said

a debt of

honor

;

if

an

me, he has nothing the creditor, " I change

to

debt Into a debt of honor," and tore the

note in pieces.

Fox thanked

the

confidence and- paid him, saying, "

man

for his

his debt was

of older standing, and Sheridan must wait."

Lover of

liberty, friend

of the Hindoo, friend

of the African slave, he possessed a great per-

Napoleon said of him on the occasion of his visit to Paris, in 1805, " Mr. Fox will always hold the first place in sonal popularity; and

an assembly

We

may

at the Tuilerles."

seem ridiculous in our eulogy of courtesy, whenever we insist on benevolence as its foundation. The painted phantasm Fashion rises to cast a species of derision on what we say. But I will neither be driven from some easily

allowance to Fashion as a symbolic institution,


MANNERS

143

nor from the belief that love

is

the basis of

We must obtain that, if we can but means we must affirm this. Life owes

courtesy.'

by

all

;

much of

to

spirit

its

Fashion, which

these sharp

affects to

be honor,

men's experience, only

all

Yet so long

as

it is

a'

contrasts.

is

often, in

ballroom

code.

the highest circle in the im-

agination of the best heads on the planet, there is

something necessary and excellent

it is

not to be supposed that

to be the

in

it

men have

for

;

agreed

dupes of anything preposterous

and

;

the respect which these mysteries inspire in the

most rude and sylvan characters, and the osity with which details of high life are

curi-

read,

betray the universality of the love of cultivated

manners. be '

I

if

felt,

know

should enter the acknowledged

we

first circles

'

would

that a comic disparity

and apply these

terrific

standards

of justice, beauty and benefit to the individuals

Monarchs and

heroes,

sages and lovers, these gallants are not.

Fash-

found

actually

there.

classes

and many rules of proba-

tion and admission,

and not the best alone.

ion has

There

many

is

not only the right of conquest, which

genius pretends,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

the individual demonstrat-

ing his natural aristocracy best of the best

but

less claims will pass for the

time

;

for

;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Fash-


MANNERS

144

ion loves lions, and points like Circe to

horned company.' This gentleman

is

her

this after-

noon arrived from Denmark and that is my Lord Ride, who came yesterday from Bagdat here is Captain Friese, from Cape Turnagain and Captain Symmes, from the interior of the and Monsieur Jovaire, who came down earth this morning in a balloon Mr. Hobnail, the reformer and Reverend Jul Bat, who has converted the whole torrid zone in his Sunday school and Signor Torre del Greco, who extinguished Vesuvius by pouring into it the Bay ;

;

;

;

;

;

of Naples

;

Spahi, the Persian ambassador

Tul Wil Shan,

;

and

the exiled nabob of Nepaul,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

whose saddle is the new moon. But these are monsters of one day, and to-morrow will be dismissed to their holes and dens for in these rooms every chair is waited for. The artist, the ;

scholar, and, in general, the clerisy, win their

way up into these places and get represented here, somewhat on this footing of conquest. Another mode is to pass through all the degrees, spending a year and a day in St. Michael's Square, being steeped in Cologne water, and perfumed, and dined, and introduced, and properly grounded in all the biography and poHtics and anecdotes of the boudoirs.


MANNERS

145

Yet these fineries may have grace and wit. Let there be grotesque sculpture about the gates and offices of temples.

commandments even have

The

of parody.

Let the creed and

homage

the saucy

forms of politeness universally

express

benevolence

What

they are in the mouths of selfish men,

if

and used

means of

as

degrees.

superlative

in

selfishness

What

?

if

the

gentleman almost bows the true out of the

false

world

What

?

if

the false gentleman contrives

so to address his companion as civilly to exclude all

its

make

others from his discourse, and also to

them

excluded

feel

Real service

?

All generosity

nobleness.

French and sentimental

;

nor

will

is

is

it

not lose

merely

not to

be con-

cealed that living blood and a passion of kind-

ness does at last distinguish God's gentleman

from Fashion's.

Grout

is

The

epitaph of Sir Jenkin

not wholly unintelligible to the present

" Here

Jenkin Grout, who loved what his his friend and persuaded his enemy for what his servants hand paid his mouth ate, age

:

lies Sir

:

:

robbed, he restored

:

if a

woman gave him

sure, he supported her in pain his

children

drew

after

of heroes

it

is

;

:

and whoso touched

his

whole body."'

not utterly extinct.

plea-

he never forgot his

Even

finger,

the line

There

is

still


MANNERS

146

ever some admirable person in plain clothes,

who jumps

standing on the wharf, a

drowning man

Philhellene

;

is still some absurd insome guide and comforter some friend of Poland; some

there

;

ventor of charities of runaway slaves;

in to rescue

;

some fanatic who plants shade-trees

for the second

and

third generation,

and orchards

when he is grown old some well-concealed some just man happy in an ill fame piety some you.th ashamed of the favors of fortune ;

;

;

and impatiently casting them on other shoul-

And

ders.

which

it

these are the centres of society, on

returns for fresh impulses.

the creators of Fashion, which

organize beauty of behavior.

is

These

an attempt

The

are to

beautiful and

the generous are, in the theory, the doctors and apostles of this church

and

Sir Philip

:

Scipio,

every pure and valiant heart

The

persons

constitute the natural aristocracy are not

found

in

edge

as the chemical

is

Cid,'

who worshipped

Beauty by word and by deed.

who

and the

Sidney, and Washington, and

;

the actual aristocracy, or only on

its

energy of the spectrum

found to be greatest just outside of the spec-

trum. Yet that

is

the infirmity of the sene-

who do not know their sovereign when he appears. The theory of society supposes the

schals,


MANNERS

147

existence and sovereignty of these.

coming.

afar off their

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

gods,

It divines

with the elder

It says

" As Heaven and Earth are fairer far Than Chaos and blank Darkness, though once chiefs; And as we show beyond that Heaven and Earth In form and shape compact and beautiful;

So on our heels

A

power more

And .

For

.

That

first

't is

we

pass .

.

.

be

might."

in

first

Therefore, within the ethnical is

concentration of tesy, to

a narrower its

which there

light, is

court

;

the

parliament

'

circle

of good

and higher

circle,

and flower of cour-

always a

pride and reference, as to

And this is whom heroic

.

the eternal law

in beauty shall

society there

.

strong in beauty, born of us

fated to excel us, as

In glory that old Darkness. .

.

a fresh perfection treads,

its

appeal of

tacit

inner and imperial

of love

and chivalry.

constituted of those persons in dispositions are native

;

with the

love of beauty, the delight in society, and the

power

to embellish the passing day.

dividuals

who compose

aristocracy in turies,

that

If the in-

the purest circles of Europe, the guarded blood of cen-

should pass in review,

we could

their behavior,

at leisure

we might

in

and find

such manner as critically inspect

no gentleman and


MANNERS

148

no lady;

for

although excellent specimens of

courtesy and high-breeding would gratify us in the assemblage, in the particulars

we should

Because elegance comes of no

detect offence.

There must be romance of character, or the most fastidious exclusion of impertinencies will not avail. It must be genit must be not ius which takes that direction breeding, but of birth.

:

High behavior

courteous, but courtesy. rare in fiction as

it

in

is

Scott

fact.

is

is

as

praised

which he painted the de-

for the fidelity with

meanor and conversation of the superior classes. Certainly, kings and queens, nobles and great ladies, had some right to complain of the absurdity that had been put in their mouths before the days of Waverley but neither does Scott's dialogue bear criticism. His lords brave each ;

other in smart epigrammatic speeches, but the dialogue

is

in

costume, and does not please on

the second reading

:

is

it

not

warm

with

life.

In Shakspeare alone the speakers do not strut

and

bridle, the dialogue

adds to so bred

man

Once or

many

titles

is

easily great,

and he

that of being the best-

England and

in

Christendom.

twice in a lifetime

we

are permitted

in

to enjoy the

charm of noble manners,

presence of a

man

or

woman who

in

the

have no bar


MANNERS

but whose character emanates

in their nature,

word and

freely in their

form ful

is

149

A

gesture.

better than a beautiful face

behavior

is

beautiful a beauti-

;

better than a beautiful

form

:

it

gives a higher pleasure than statues or pictures it is

the finest of the fine arts.

A

man

but

is

a little thing in the midst of the objects of nature, yet,

by the moral

quality radiating from

countenance he

may

abolish

tions of magnitude,

and

in

his

the majesty of the world.

his

all

considera-

manners equal

have seen an indi-

I

whose manners, though wholly within

vidual

the conventions of elegant society, were never

learned there, but were original and

command-

ing and held out protection and prosperity

one who did not need the aid of a but carried the holiday

in his

eye

;

court-suit,

who

exhila-

rated the fancy by flinging wide the doors of

new modes of existence who shook ;

tivity

off the cap-

of etiquette, with happy, spirited bearing,

good-natured and

free

Robin

as

with the port of an emperor, serious

and

fit

The open

if

Hood

need be,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

yet

;

calm,

to stand the gaze of millions.

air

and the

fields,

the street and

public chambers are the places where ecutes his will

;

let

him

Man

ex-

yield or divide the

sceptre at the door of the house.

Woman,

with


MANNERS

I50

her instinct of behavior, instantly detects

man

In

any coldness or imbecil-

a love of trifles,

any want of that large, flowing and magnanimous deportment which is indisity, or, in short,

pensable as an exterior in the

moment

at this

hall.

Our Amer-

have been friendly to her, and

ican institutions

I

esteem

it

a chief felicity of

it excels in women. A cerinferiority consciousness of in the awkward tain men may give rise to the new chivalry in be-

this country, that

Woman's Rights. Certainly let her be much better placed in the laws and in social

half of as

forms as the most zealous reformer can ask, but

I

confide so entirely in her inspiring and

musical nature, that

show us how

I

she shall

believe only herself can.

be served.'

The won-

derful generosity of her sentiments raises her

and godlike regions, and verifies the pictures of Minerva, Juno, or Polymnia and by the firmness with which she treads her upward path, she convinces the at

times

into

heroical

;

coarsest

calculators

that

another road

than that which their feet know. those

who make good

in

But

exists

besides

our imagination the

place of muses and of Delphic Sibyls, are there

not

women who

fill

our vase with wine and

roses to the brim, so that the wine runs over


MANNERS and

the house with perfume

fills

we speak

;

who

left

us at large

;

we were

with children in a wide

we

us,

to

we

see

?

have said

our walls of habitual reserve vanished

for once,

and

inspire

tongues and

anoint our eyes and

we never thought

say things

who

;

who unloose our

us with courtesy ;

We

151

cried, in

field

children playing

of flowers.

Steep

these influences, for days, for

weeks, and we shall be sunny poets and

will

write out in many-colored words the romance that

you

Was

are.

it

Hafiz or Firdousi that

said of his Persian Lilla,

She was an elemental

and astonished me by her amount of life, I saw her day after day radiating, every instant, redundant joy and grace on all around

force,

when her? all

She was

a solvent powerful to reconcile

heterogeneous persons into one society

air or water,

like

an element of such a great range

of affinities that

it

combines readily with a thou-

sand substances. Where she will

:

is

present

be more than they are wont.

all

others

She was a unit

and whole, so that whatsoever she did, became her. She had too much sympathy and desire to please, than that you could say her manners were marked with dignity, yet no princess could surpass her clear and erect demeanor on each occasion.

She did not study the Persian gram-


MANNERS

IS2

mar, nor the books of the seven poets, but

all

poems of the seven seemed to be written upon her. For though the bias of her nature the

was not to thought, but to sympathy, yet was she so perfect in her

own

nature as to meet in-

by warming them by her sentiments she did, that by dealing nobly with show themselves noble.'

the fulness of her heart,

tellectual persons

believing, as

;

know

I

who look

at

and picturesque

fair

the contemporary facts

for science or for entertainment,

pleasant to

spectators.

all

our society makes bitious

would

that this Byzantine pile of chivalry

or Fashion, which seems so to those

all, all

it

The

is

not equally

constitution of

a giant's castle to the

youth who have not found

their

am-

names

Golden Book, and whom it has coveted honors and privileges. They have yet to learn that its seeming grandeur is shadowy and relative it is great by enrolled in

its

excluded from

its

:

their allowance at

;

its

proudest gates

will fly

open

the approach of their courage and virtue.

For the present

however, of those who

distress,

are predisposed to suffer this

caprice, there

move your

are

from the tyrannies of

easy remedies.

To

re-

residence a couple of miles, or at


MANNERS most

commonly

153

most extreme susceptibility.' For the advantages which fashion values are plants which thrive in very four, will

confined

relieve the

few streets namely.

localities, in a

of this precinct they go for nothing

Out no

are of

;

use in the farm, in the forest, in the market, in war, in the nuptial society, in the literary or entific circle, at sea, in friendship, in the

sci-

heaven

of thought or virtue.

But we have lingered long enough

The worth

painted courts.

must vindicate our

fied

Everything that

humbles

itself

heart of love.^

all

titles

This,

the royal blood, this the

kind and conquer and expand

suffering no

This gives new meanit. This impoverishes the rich,

grandeur but

Are you

rich

enough

to succor the unfashionable rich

namely the

after its

ings to every fact.

?

is

dignities,

countries and contingencies,

that approaches

rich

and

all

which, in

work

will

emblem. and courtesy

before the cause and fountain of

honor, creator of

fire,

of the thing signi-

taste for the

called fashion

is

in these

enough

to

make

its

own.

What

is

anybody

?

and the eccentric

?

to help

the Canadian in his wagon,

the itinerant with his consul's paper which com-

mends him " To

the charitable," the swarthy

Italian with his few broken words of English,


MANNERS

154

the lame pauper hunted by overseers from town

poor insane or besotted wreck

to town, even the

of

man

or

woman,

feel

the noble exception of

your presence and your house from the general bleakness and stoniness to make such feel that they were greeted with a voice which made them ;

both remember and hope to

reasons

What

?

is

?

What

is

vulgar but

on acute and conclusive

refuse the claim

gentle, but to allow

it,

and

give their heart and yours one holiday from the national caution

wealth

is

?

Without the

rich heart,

The king

of Schiraz

an ugly beggar.

could not afford to be so bountiful as the poor

Osman who

dwelt at his gate.

Osman had

humanity so broad and deep that although speech was so bold and free with the Koran to disgust

all

as

the dervishes, yet was there never

a poor outcast, eccentric, or insane fool

a

his

who had

man, some

cut off his beard, or

who had

been mutilated under a vow, or had a pet mad-

him that sunny and hospitable in the centre of the country, that it seemed as if the instinct of all sufferers drew them to his side. And the madness which he harbored he ness in his brain, but fled at once to

;

great heart lay there so

did not share.'

Is not this to be rich? this only

to be rightly rich

?


MANNERS But

I

shall hear

courtier very

ill,

without pain that

called

by

good laws

I

play the

and talk of that which

not well understand. It is

155

is

easy to see that

do what

I

and fashion has

distinction society

much

as well as bad, has

that

is

ne-

and much that is absurd. Too good for banning, and too bad for blessing, it reminds us of a tradition of the pagan mythology, in any cessary,

attempt to

settle

its

character.

'

I

overheard

Jove, one day,' said Silenus, ' talking of destroying the earth all

;

he said

rogues and vixens,

it

had

failed

;

they were

who went from bad

to

worse, as fast as the days succeeded each other.

Minerva ridiculous

said she little

hoped not

;

they were only

creatures, with this

stance, that they

had

odd circum-

a blur, or indeterminate

you called them you called them good, they would appear so and there was no one person or action among them which would not puzzle her owl, much more all Olympus,

aspect, seen far or seen near; if

bad, they would appear so

if

;

;

to

know whether

good.'

'

it

was fundamentally bad or


V GIFTS Gifts of one

'T was

who

loved me, -

high time they came

;

When

he ceased to love me.

Time

they stopped for shame.


GIFTS said that the world in a state of ITbankruptcy that the world owes the world is

is

;

more than

the world can pay, and ought to go

into chancery and be sold.

I

do not think

this

some

sort

general insolvency, which involves in all

the population, to be the reason of the

diffi-

New

Year

culty experienced at Christmas and

and other times,

in

bestowing

gifts

;

since

it

is

always so pleasant to be generous, though very vexatious to pay debts. in the choosing.

my

head that a present

body,

I

is

am puzzled what

portunity fit

But the impediment lies

If at any time

gone.

is

presents

;

comes into due from me to someit

to give, until the op-

Flowers and

fruits are

flowers, because they are a

assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues utilities

trast

always

proud all

the

These gay natures con-

of the world.

with the somewhat stern countenance of or-

dinary nature

:

a work-house.

they are like music heard out of

Nature does not cocker us

are children, not pets

thing

is

;

she

is

not fond

;

;

we

every-

dealt to us without fear or favor, after

Yet these delicate flowers and interference of love and

severe universal laws.

look like the

frolic


GIFTS

i6o

Men use to tell

beauty.

us that

we love

even though we are not deceived by

it,

flattery-

because

shows that we are of importance enough to

it

Something like that pleasure, the flowers give us what am I to whom these sweet be courted.

:

hints are addressed

?

Fruits are acceptable

gifts,

because they are the flowerof commodities, and

admit of If a

man

fantastic values being attached to them.

should send to

me

to

him and should

miles to visit

basket of fine summer-fruit,

I

come

a hundred

me

set before

a

should think there

was some proportion between the labor and the reward.'

For common

makes

necessity

gifts,

nences and beauty every day, and one

pertiis

glad

when an imperative leaves him no option since if the man at the door have no shoes, you have not to consider whether you could procure him ;

a paint-box. a

man

And

as

it is

always pleasing to see

eat bread, or drink water, in the house

or out of doors, so

it

is

always a great

tion to supply these first wants.

everything well.

dependence

it

satisfac-

Necessity does

In our condition of universal

seems heroic to

let

the petitioner

be the judge of his necessity, and to give is

If

be a fantastic desire,

it

all

asked, though at great inconvenience.

that

it is

better to leave to


GIFTS

i6i

others the office of punishing him.

of

many

parts

I

should prefer playing to that

Next

of the Furies/ the rule for a prescribed,

of necessity,

to things

which one of

gift,

that

is

can think

I

my

we might convey

friends

some

to

person that which properly belonged

to

his

and was easily associated with him in thought. But our tokens of compliment and love are for the most part barbarous. Rings character,

and other jewels

are not gifts, but apologies

The only gift is Thou must bleed for me.

for gifts.

brings his

poem

farmer, corn

and

coral girl, is

;

;

a portion of thyself.

Therefore the poet

the shepherd, his

the miner, a

shells

;

;

lamb

and pleasing,

for

it

own

;

the

the sailor,

the painter, his picture

a handkerchief of her

right

gem

sewing.

;

the

This

restores Society in

when a man's bioconveyed in his gift, and every man's wealth is an index of his merit.'' But it is a cold lifeless business when you go to the shops to buy me something which does not represent your life and talent, but a goldsmith's. This is so far to the primary basis,

graphy

fit

is

for kings,

and a

and

false state

of gold and

rich

men who

of property, to make presents

silver stuffs, as a

sin-offering, or

represent kings,

kind of symbolical

payment of blackmail.


1

GIFTS

62

The

law of benefits

which requires careful is

not the

office

of a

man

dare you give them

rude boats.

to receive gifts.

We

?

channelj

a difficult

is

sailing, or

It

How

wish to be self-sus-

We

do not quite forgive a giver. The hand that feeds us is in some danger of being bitten. We can receive anything from love, for that is a way of receiving it from ourselves but not from any one who assumes to bestow. We sometimes hate the meat which we eat, because there seems something of degrading dependence in living by it " Brother, if Jove to thee a present make. tained.

;

â&#x20AC;˘

:

Take heed

that

from

We

ask the whole.

us.

We

hands thou nothing take."

his

Nothing

arraign society if

besides earth and

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

fire

less will

content

do not give

it

'

us,

and water, opportunity,

love, reverence and objects of veneration.

He well.

a

is

We

good man who can

both emotions are unbecoming. I

think

is

I rejoice

my

receive a gift

are either glad or sorry at a gift, and

Some violence

done, some degradation borne, when

or grieve at a

independence

is

gift.

I

am

invaded, or

sorry

when

when a

gift

do not know my spirit, and so the act is not supported ' and if the gift pleases me overmuch, then I should be ashamed

comes from such

as

;


GIFTS

163

donor should read my heart, and see that I love his commodity, and not him. The gift, to be true, must be the flowing of the giver unto me, correspondent to my flowing unto him. that the

When

the waters are at level, then

pass to him, and his to me." all

mine

me

this

his.

I

pot of

say to him. oil

my

goods

All his are mine,

How

can you give

or this flagon of wine

when

your oil and wine is mine, which belief of mine this gift seems to deny ? Hence the fit-

all

ness of beautiful, not useful things, for

This giving

when

is

flat

usurpation, and

the beneficiary

ficiaries

hate

all

is

ungrateful, as

Timons, not

gifts.

therefore

bene-

all

at all considering

the value of the gift but looking back to the greater store

it

was taken from,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

I

rather

sym-

pathize with the beneficiary than with the anger

of

my

lord

gratitude

by the

is

Timon.

For the expectation of

mean, and

is

total insensibility

It is a great

continually punished

of the obliged person.

happiness to get off without in-

jury and heart-burning from one the ill-luck to be served by you.

onerous business,

this

who It

has had is

a very

of being served, and the

debtor naturally wishes to give you a slap. A golden text for these gentlemen is that which I so admire in the Buddhist, who never thanks.


GIFTS

1 64

and who

"

says,

Do

not

flatter

your benefac-

tors."

The

reason of these discords

be that there

is

man and any

I

conceive to

no commensurability between

gift.

You

a

cannot give anything

magnanimous person. After you have served him he at once puts you in debt by his to a

The

magnanimity. friend

is

service

trivial

and

service a

his friend,

good-will

and now bear

I

power

my

to render

renders his

compared with

selfish

he knows his friend stood

to yield him, alike before he

my

man

had begun

to serve

Compared with

also.

friend, the benefit

him seems

the

in readiness

small.

our action on each other, good as well

it

that is

in

Besides, as evil,

we can seldom who would thank us for a benefit, without some shame is

so incidental and at random that

hear the acknowledgments of any person

and humiliation. We can rarely strike a direct stroke, but must be content with an obhque one; we seldom have the satisfaction of yielding a direct benefit

which

is

rectitude scatters favors

knowing of

all

I

it,

directly received.

on every

But

side without

and receives with wonder the thanks

people. fear

to

breathe any treason

majesty of love, which

is

against

the

the genius and god


GIFTS of

and

gifts,

165

whom we must

to

not affect to pre-

Let him give kingdoms of flower-leaves

scribe.

There

indifferently.'

are persons

always expect fairy-tokens

This

expect them. limited

is

let

;

from

whom we

us not cease to

prerogative, and not to be

by our municipal rules. For the rest, I we cannot be bought and sold.

like to see that

The

best of hospitality and of generosity

not in the

much feel

you

to

me

will,

you

but in

fate.

I

find that I

is

also

am

not

you do not need me you do not am I thrust out of doors, though me house and lands. No services ;

;

then

;

proffer

any value, but only likeness. When I have attempted to join myself to others by serno more. vices, it proved an intellectual trick, are of

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

They out.

and leave you But love them, and they feel you and deeat

light in

your service

you

all

like apples,

the time.


VI

NATURE The

rounded world

Nine times folded

Though

The

And

to see.

mystery:

baiBed seers cannot impart

secret

Throb

is fair

in

of its laboring heart.

thine with Nature's throbbing breast.

all is

clear

Spirit that lurks

Beckons

from

east to west.

each form within

to spirit

of its kin;

Self-kindled every atom glows.

And

hints the fiiture

which

it

owes.


NATURE

THERE mate,

are days

which occur in

wherein the world reaches the a

air,

its

perfection

;

the heavenly bodies and the earth,

harmony, as when,

spring

this cli-

almost any season of the year,

at

;

nature would indulge her ofF-

if

in these bleak

planet, nothing

is

upper

to desire that

sides of the

we have heard

of the happiest latitudes, and we bask shining hours of Florida and

thing that has

when make

life

in the

Cuba when every;

gives sign of satisfaction, and

on the ground seem to have great and tranquil thoughts.' These halcyons may be looked for with a little more assurance in that pure October weather which we distinguish by the name of the Indian summer. The the cattle that

lie

day, immeasurably long, sleeps over the broad

and warm wide fields. To have lived all Its sunny hours, seems longevity enough. The solitary places do not seem quite hills

through lonely.

man

At

the gates of the forest, the surprised

of the world

is

forced to leave his city esti-

mates of great and small, wise and foolish. The knapsack of custom falls off his back with the first

step he takes into these precincts.

Here

is


NATURE

170 sanctity ity

which shames our

religions,

which discredits our heroes.

Nature

to

and

Here we

real-

find

be the circumstance which dwarfs

every other circumstance, and judges like a god all

men

that

come

to her.

We

have crept out

of our close and crowded houses into the night

and morning, and we see what majestic beauties daily wrap us in their bosom. How willingly

we would

escape the barriers which render them

comparatively impotent, escape the sophistica-

and second thought, and suffer nature to intrance us. The tempered light of the woods is like a perpetual morning, and is stimulating

tion

and

heroic.

The

anciently-reported spells of

these places creep on us.

The

stems of pines,

hemlocks and oaks almost gleam the excited eye.

like iron

The incommunicable

on

trees be-

gin to persuade us to live with them, and quit

our

life

of solemn

church, or state,

is

trifles.

Here no

interpolated

history, or

on the

divine

How easily we might walk onward into the opening landscape, absorbed by new pictures and by thoughts fast sky and the immortal year.

succeeding each other, until by degrees the collection of all

memory

present,

home was crowded out of the

re-

mind,

obliterated by the tyranny of the and we were led In triumph by nature.


NATURE

171

These enchantments are medicinal, they sober and heal us. These are plain pleasures, kindly and native to us. We come to our own, and

make

friends with matter, which the ambitious

chatter of the schools despise.

We

loves

old

is

its

would persuade us to it the mind

never can part with

home

:

as water to

;

our

thirst,

so

the rock, the ground, to our eyes and hands

and

feet.

It

is

firm water

what health, what

;

it

is

cold flame

;

Ever an old friend, ever like a dear friend and brother when we chat affectedly with strangers, comes in this honest face, and takes a grave liberty with us, and shames us out of our nonsense. Cities give not the human senses room enough. We go out daily and nightly to feed the eyes on the horizon, and require so much scope, just as we need water for our bath. There are all deaffinity

!

grees of natural influence, from these quarantine

powers of nature, up to her dearest and gravest ministrations to the imagination and the soul.

There

is

the bucket of cold water from the

spring, the wood-fire to which the chilled traveller

rushes for safety,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

there

is

the sub-

autumn and of noon. We nestle and draw our living as parasites from

lime moral of in nature,

her roots and grains, and

we

receive glances


NATURE

172

from the heavenly bodies, which tude and zenith

is

foretell the

call

us to

soli-

remotest future.

The

blue

the point in which romance and reality

if we should be rapt away into dream of heaven, and should conall and verse with Gabriel and Uriel, the upper sky would be all that would remain of our furniture.

meet.

I

think

that

seems

It in

as if the

day was not wholly profane

which we have given heed to some natural

The

object.

fall

of snowflakes

preserving to each crystal

blowing of over plains

waving of

sleet ;

its

a

in

still

perfect form

;

air,

the

over a wide sheet of water, and

the waving rye-field

acres of houstonia,

ble florets whiten

;

the mimic

whose innumera-

and ripple before the eye

the reflections of trees and flowers in glassy lakes

the musical, steaming, odorous south

;

wind, which converts

all

trees to

wind-harps

;

the crackling and spurting of hemlock in the flames,- or of pine logs,

which yield glory

the walls and faces in the sitting-room, are the music religion.

My

little

I

I

go with river,

to

these

and pictures of the most ancient house stands

limited outlook,

But

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

and on the

my

in

low land, with

skirt of the village.

friend to the shore of our

and with one stroke of the paddle

leave the' village

politics

and

personalities.


NATURE

173

and the world of villages and personalities, behind, and pass into a delicate realm of sunset and moonlight, too bright almost for spotted yes,

man

We

to enter without novitiate and probation.

penetrate bodily this incredible beauty

;

we

dip our hands in this painted element; our eyes are bathed in these lights

and forms.'

A

holi-

day, a villeggiatura, a royal revel, the proud-

most

est,

heart-rejoicing festival that valor

and

beauty, power and taste, ever decked and en-

joyed, establishes

itself

on the

These

instant.

sunset clouds, these delicately emerging

stars,

with their private and ineffable glances, signify

and proffer it.^ I am taught the poorness of our invention, the ugliness of towns and palaces. Art and luxury have early learned that

it

they must work as enhancement and sequel to this original beauty.

my

for

please.

return. I

I

am

Henceforth

I

I

I

am grown

can no longer

without elegance, but a countryman shall be

my master he

be hard to

shall

cannot go back to toys.

expensive and sophisticated. live

over-instructed

of revels.

who knows what

He who

knows

the

most

sweets and virtues are in

the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

is the and how to come at these enchantments, far as the masters Only as man. royal and rich


NATURE

174

of the world have called in nature to their

aid,

can they reach the height of magnificence.

This

the meaning of their hanging-gardens,

villas,

is

garden-houses, islands, parks and preserves, to

back their faulty personality with these strong accessories.

interest

do not wonder

I

these dangerous auxiliaries. invite; not kings,

women, but

his

man

These bribe and

not palaces, not men, not

these tender and poetic stars, elo-

quent of secret promises. rich

that the landed

should be invincible in the State with

we knew of

said,

We

heard what the

his villa, his grove,

wine and his company, but the provocation

and point of the invitation came out of these beguiling

men

stars.

In their soft glances

strove to realize in

Paphos, or Ctesiphon. cal lights

some

Indeed,

I see

what

Versailles, or it is

the magi-

of the horizon and the blue sky

the background which save

all

our works of

which were otherwise bawbles.

When

for art,

the rich

tax the poor with servility and obsequiousness,

they should consider the effect of to be the possessors of nature,

minds.

Ah

if

!

A

men

reputed

on imaginative

the rich were rich as the poor

boy hears a military band play on the field at night, and he has kings and queens and famous chivalry palpably before

fancy riches

!


NATURE He

him.

17s,

hears the echoes of a horn in a

hill

Notch Mountains, for example, which converts the mountains into an ^olian country, in the

harp,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

this supernatural tiralira restores

him the Dorian mythology, Apollo, Diana, all divine hunters and huntresses.' Can a

to

and

musical note be so

To

the poor

lofty, so

young

picture of society

he

;

haughtily beautiful

poet, thus fabulous is

loyal

;

is

1

his

he respects the

rich

;

they are rich for the sake of his imagina-

tion

;

how poor

not rich

!

his fancy would be, if they were That they have some high-fenced

grove which they

call a

park

;

that they live in

and better-garnished saloons than he has and go in coaches, keeping only the society of the elegant, to watering-places and these make the groundwork to distant cities,

larger

visited,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

from which he has delineated estates of romance, compared with which their actual possessions

and paddocks. The muse herself betrays her son, and enhances the gifts of wealth and well-born beauty by a radiation out of the air, and clouds, and forests that skirt the road, a certain haughty favor, as if from patrician are shanties

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

genii to patricians, a kind of aristocracy in nature, a prince of the

The

moral

power of the air.^ which makes Edens and

sensibility


NATURE

176

Tempes

so easily,

may

not be always found,

but the material landscape

is

never

We

far off.

can find these enchantments without visiting the

Como

We

Lake, or the Madeira Islands.

landscape the point of astonishment

is

the meet-

ing of the sky and the earth, and that

from the

first

hillock as well as

the Alleghanies.

The

is

seen

from the top of

stars at night

over the brownest, homeliest

ex-

In every

aggerate the praises of local scenery.

stoop down

common

with

all

the spiritual magnificence which they shed on the Campagna, or on the marble deserts

Egypt.

The

morning and evening alders.

The

landscape

is

will transfigure

maples and

difference between landscape and

small, but there

in the beholders. ful in

of

uprolled clouds and the colors of

is

great difi^erence

There Js nothing so wonder-

any particular landscape

as the necessity

of being beautiful under which every landscape

Nature cannot be surprised Beauty breaks in everywhere.

lies.

But

it

is

in undress.

very easy to outrun the sympathy

of readers on this topic, which schoolmen called natura naturata, or nature passive.' hardly speak directly of as easy to broach in

it

One

without excess.

can It

mixed companies what

called " the subject of religion."

A

is is

susceptible


NATURE

177

person does not like to indulge his

kind without the apology of some sity

:

tastes in this trivial

neces-

he goes to see a wood-lot, or to look

at

the crops, or to fetch a plant or a mineral from a remote locality, or he carries a fowling-piece or a fishing-rod.

I

have a good reason. is

suppose

A

this

shame must

dilettanteism in nature

barren and unworthy.

The

fop of fields

better than his brother of Broadway.

is

Men

no are

naturally hunters and inquisitive of wood-craft, a gazetteer as woodand Indians should furnish facts for, would take place in the most sumptuous drawing-rooms of all the " Wreaths " and " Flora's chaplets" of the bookshops; yet ordinarily, whether we are too clumsy for so subtle a topic, or from whatever cause, as soon as men begin to write on nature, they fall into euphuism. Frivolity is a most unfit tribute to Fan, who ought to be represented in the mythology as the most continent of gods. I would not be frivolous before the admirable reserve and prudence

and

I

suppose that such

cutters

of time, yet

I

cannot renounce the right of re-

turning often to this old topic.

of

false

multitude

churches accredits the true religion.

erature, poetry, science are the to this

The

unfathomed

secret,

Lit-

homage of man'

concerning which no


NATURE

178

sane

man

ity.

Nature

is

can affect an indifference or incuriosis

loved by what

best in us.

is

It

loved as the city of God, although, or rather

because there

is

anything that

And the

no

The

citizen.

underneath

is

it

sunset it

:

is

unlike

wants men.

beauty of nature must always seem un-

human good as itself. If there were good men, there would never be this rapture in nature. If the king is in the palace, nobody looks at the walls. It is when he is gone, and the house is filled with grooms and gazers, that we turn from the people to find relief in the majestic men that are suggested by the pictures real

and mocking,

until the landscape has

figures that are as

and the

architecture.

The

critics

who complain

of the sickly separation of the beauty of nature from the thing to be done, must consider that our hunting of the picturesque is inseparable

from our protest against fallen tial

;

nature

is

erect,

Man

false society.

and serves

is

as a differen-

thermometer, detecting the presence or ab-

sence of the divine sentiment In man.

By

fault

of our dulness and selfishness we are looking up to nature, but will

when we

We

look up to us.

with compunction the right energy,

are convalescent, nature

:

if

see the foaming brook

our own

life

flowed with

we should shame the

brook.'


NATURE The

179

stream of zeal sparkles with

real fire,

not with reflex rays of sun and moon.

may

and

Nature

be as selfishly studied as trade. Astronomy

becomes astrology psychology, mesmerism (with intent to show where our spoons are gone) and anatomy and physiology become phrenology and palmistry.' But taking timely warning, and leaving many things unsaid on this topic, let us not longer omit our homage to the Efficient Nature, natura to the selfish

;

;

naturans, the quick cause before which flee as

the driven snows

driven before

it

in flocks

;

all

itself secret, its

and multitudes,

forms

works (as

the

ancients represented nature by Proteus, a shep-

and in undescribable variety. It publishes creatures, reaching from particles and spiculae through transformation on transformaherd,)

itself in

tion to the highest symmetries, arriving at con-

summate little

results without a

heat, that

ferences the

is

a

little

shock or a

motion,

is all

bald, dazzling white

leap.

A

that dif-

and deadly

cold poles of the earth from the prolific tropical climates.

All changes pass without violence, by

reason of the two cardinal conditions of bound-

and boundless time. Geology has initiated us into the secularity of nature, and taught us to disuse our dame-school measures, and exless space


NATURE

i8o

change our Mosaic and Ptolemaic schemes

We

her large style.

knew nothing

for

rightly, for

want of perspective. Now we learn what patient periods must round themselves before the rock then before the rock is broken, and is formed ;

the

first

lichen race has disintegrated the thinnest

opened the door for the remote Flora, Fauna, Ceres, and Pomona to

external plate into soil, and

come

in.

How far off yet is the trilobite

the quadruped!

man

1

men.

how

how

far

inconceivably rerhote

is

!

All duly arrive, and then race after race of It

is

a long

way from

granite to the oyster

and the preaching of the Yet all must come, as

farther yet to Plato

immortality of the soul.

first atom has two sides.' Motion or change and identity or

surely as the

the

first

and second

and Rest.

secrets

The whole

of nature

:

rest are

Modon

code of her laws may

be written on the thumbnail, or the signet of

The whirling bubble on the surface of a brook admits us to the secret of the mechanics of the sky. Every shell on the beach is a key

a ring.

to

it.

A

little

water

made

to rotate in a cup ex-

plains the formation of the simpler shells

;

the

addition of matter from year to year arrives last at is

the most complex forms

nature with

all

her

at

;

and yet so poor

craft, that

from the begin-


NATURE

i8i

ning to the end of the universe she has but one stuff,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but one

stuff with

its

up all her dream-like

variety.

she

fire,

will,

sand,

star,

two ends,

to serve

Compound

water, tree,

it

how

man,

it is

one stuff, and betrays the same properties.' Nature is always consistent, though she feigns

still

own laws. She keeps her and seems to transcend them. She arms and equips an animal to find its place arid living in the earth, and at the same time she arms

to

contravene her

laws,

and equips another animal exists to divide creatures

to destroy

Space

it.

but by clothing the

;

sides of a bird with a few feathers she gives

a petty omnipresence.

onward, but the

The

artist still

direction

is

him

forever

goes back for mate-

and begins again with the first elements on the most advanced stage otherwise all goes to ruin. If we look at her work, we seem to rials

:

catch a glance of a system in transition. are the

young of

and vigor

;

but they grope ever upward towards

consciousness

seem

to

Plants

the world, vessels of health

;

the trees are imperfect men, and

bemoan

the ground.""

their

The

imprisonment, rooted in

animal

is

the novice and

probationer of a more advanced order.

The

men, though young, having tasted the first drop from the cup of thought, are already dissipated


1

NATURE

82

the maples and ferns are

uncorrupt

still

;

yet

no doubt when they come to consciousness they too will curse and swear. Flowers so strictly belong to youth that we adult men soon come to feel that their beautiful generations concern

we have had our day; now

not us:

children have theirs.

we

The

are old bachelors with

flowers

jilt

let

the

us, and

our ridiculous ten-

derness.

Things

are so strictly related, that according

to the skill of the eye,

from any one object the

parts and properties of any other dicted.

If

from the sity that

That

we had

eyes to see

would

city wall

man must

identity

it,

certify

may

be pre-

a bit of stone

us of the neces-

exist, as readily as the city.

makes us

all

one, and reduces to

nothing great intervals on our customary

We

talk of deviations

artificial life

from natural

were not also natural.

scale.

hfe, as if

The smooth-

est curled courtier in the boudoirs

of a palace

has an animal nature, rude and aboriginal as a

white bear, omnipotent to

its

own

ends, and

is

amid essences and billetsHimmaleh mountain-chains and the

directly related, there

doux, to

If we consider how much we need not be superstitious

axis of the globe.

we

are nature's,

about towns, as

if

that terrific or benefic force


NATURE

183

did not find us there also, and fashion

cities.

who made the mason, made the house. may easily hear too much of rural influences. The cool disengaged air of natural obNature,

We

jects

makes them enviable

and

and we think we camp out and us be men instead of wood-

creatures with red faces,

irritable

we

to us, chafed

grand

shall be as

eat roots

but

;

let

as they if

chucks and the oak and the elm serve us, though

we

shall gladly

in chairs of ivory

sit

on

carpets of silk.

This guiding identity runs through all the surprises and contrasts of the piece, and char-

Man

acterizes every law.

of nature is

in a thought. is

world in

whole astronomy ^nd chemistry

his head, the

suspended

carries the

Because the history

charactered in his brain, therefore

he the prophet and discoverer of her

secrets.

Every known fact in natural science was divined by the presentiment of somebody, before it

was actually

verified.

A

man

does not

tie his

shoe without recognizing laws which bind the farthest regions crystal,

are

Common

sense

the fact at

of nature

concrete

first

The common

:

moon,

plant, gas,

geometry and numbers.

knows

its

own, and recognizes

sight in chemical experiment.

sense

'

of Franklin, Dalton,

Davy


1

NATURE

84

and Black is the same common sense' which made the arrangements which now it discovers. If the identity expresses organized rest, the

The

counter action runs also into organization.

astronomers

said,

motion and we is

Give us matter and a

'

will construct the universe.

not enough that

must

Httle

we should have

matter,

It

we

have a single impulse, one shove

also

to launch the

mass and generate the hairmony and centripetal

Once heave the ball from the hand, and we can show A very how all this mighty order grew.'

of the centrifugal

forces.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

unreasonable cians,

'

and

postulate,' a

Could you not

plain

said

the

'

metaphysi-

begging of the question.

prevail to

know

the genesis of

projection, as well as the continuation of it?'

Nature, meanwhile, had not waited for the

dis-

cussion, but, right or wrong, bestowed the im-

and the balls rolled.^ It was no great affair, a mere push, but the astronomers were right in making much of it, for there is no end

pulse,

That famous

to the consequences of the act.

push propagates itself through all the the system, and through every atom of balls of every ball through all the races of creatures, and through the history and performances of

aboriginal

;

every individual.

Exaggeration

is

in the course


NATURE

185

Nature sends no creature, no man into the world without adding a small excess of of things.

his

proper quality.

Given the planet,

it

is still

necessary to add the impulse; so to every creature nature added a in

its

little

violence of direction

proper path, a shove to put

it

on

in every instance a slight generosity, a

its

way

drop too

much. Without electricity the air would rot, and without this violence of direction which men and women have, without a spice of bigot and fanatic, no excitement, no efficiency. We aim above the mark to hit the mark. Every act hath some falsehood of exaggeration in it. And when now and then comes along some sad, sharp-eyed man, who sees how paltry a game is played, and refuses to play but blabs the secret;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; how then?

Is the bird flown

the wary Nature sends a

?

new troop of

O

no,

fairer

more them fast to their excess of direction to hold makes them a little wrong-headed several aim in that direction in which they are rightest, and on goes the game again with new whirl, for a generation or two more. The child with his forms, of lordlier youths, with a

little

;

sweet pranks, the fool of his senses,

commanded

by every sight and sound, without any power to compare and rank his sensations, abandoned


1

NATURE

86

to a whistle or a painted chip, to a lead dragoon

or a gingerbread-dog, individualizing everything, generalizing nothing, delighted with every new

down

thing, lies fatigue

which

at

this

night overpowered by the

day of continual pretty madBut Nature has answered

ness has incurred.

her purpose with the curly, dimpled lunatic.

She has tasked every

faculty,

and has secured

the syminetrical growth of the bodily frame by all

these attitudes and exertions,

the to

first

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; an

end of

importance, which could not be trusted

any care

less

perfect than her own.

glitter, this opaline lustre plays

of every toy to

his

This

round the top

eye to insure his

fidelity,

and he is deceived to his good.' We are made alive and kept alive by the same arts. Let the stoics say what they please, we do not eat for the good of living, but because the meat is savory and the appetite table

life

does

the

that, if

air

The

vege-

not content itself with casting

from the flower or the fills

keen.

is

tree a single seed, but

it

and earth with a prodigality of seeds,

may plant may come up, that

thousands perish, thousands

themselves

;

that hundreds

tens

may

may

replace the parent.

live

to maturity

;

that at least one

All things betray the

same calculated profusion. The excess of

fear


NATURE with which the animal frame

187 is

hedged round,

shrinking from cold, starting at sight of a snake or at a sudden noise, protects us, through a

multitude of groundless alarms, from some one real

danger

at last.

The

riage his private felicity

prospective end piness her

own

;

lover seeks in marand perfection, with no

and nature hides

in his

hap-

end, namely progeny, or the

perpetuity of the race.

But the

craft

with which the world

is

made,

runs also into the mind and character of men.

No man in

is

quite sane

his composition, a

;

each has a vein of folly slight determination

blood to the head, to make

of

sure of holding him

hard to some one point which nature had taken to heart.

merits

Great causes are never tried on their but the cause

;

is

reduced to particulars

to suit the size of the partisans, tion

is

and the conten-

Not less man in the do or say. The

ever hottest on minor matters.

remarkable

is

the overfaith of each

importance of what he has to

poet, the prophet, has a higher value for what

he utters than any hearer, and therefore spoken.

The

strong, self-complacent

it

gets

Luther

declares with an emphasis not to be mistaken,

God himself cannot do without wise men." Jacob Behmen and George Fox betray their that "


NATURE

88

1

egotism in the pertinacity of their controversial

and James Naylor once suffered himself

tracts,

Each prophet

to be worshipped as the Christ.'

comes presently to identify himself with his thought, and to esteem his hat and shoes saCred.

However it

may

this

the judicious, gives heat,

words.

A

in private

discredit such persons with

them with the people, as pungency and publicity to their

it

helps

similar experience

not infrequent

is

Each young and ardent person

life.

when

writes a diary, in which,

the hours of

prayer and penitence arrive, he inscribes his soul.

The

pages thus written are to him burning and

fragrant

he reads them on his knees by mid-

;

night and by the morning star

with his tears

he wets them

;

they are sacred

;

;

the world, and hardly yet to be

This

dearest friend.

is

cut.

The umbiUcal

shown

for

to the

the man-child that

born to the soul, and her the babe.

too good

life still

is

circulates in

cord has not yet been

After some time has elapsed, he begins to

wish to admit his friend to this hallowed experience,

and with

hesitation, yet with firmness, ex-

poses the pages to his eye. his eyes

?

The

Will they not burn

friend coldly turns

them

over,

and passes from the writing to conversation, with easy transition, which strikes the other


NATURE

189

party with astonishment and vexation.

not suspect the writing

of fervid

life,

of

Days and nights

itself.

communion with

angels of dark-

ness and of light have engraved their

on that

characters

He can-

tear-stained book.

shadowy

He

sus-

pects the intelligence or the heart of his friend. Is there then

no friend

He

?

cannot yet credit

may have impressive may not know how to put

that one

yet

into literature

:

experience and his private fact

and perhaps the discovery

that

wisdom has other tongues and ministers than we, that though we should hold our peace the truth would not the less be spoken, might check injuriously the flames of our zeal.

only speak so long as he does not

and inadequate.

to be partial

he does not see

As soon and his

as

he

particular

man

is

can

speech

feel his

partial,

to be so whilst he utters

it

is

It

A

but it.

released from the instinctive

and

sees

its partiality,

he shuts

mouth in disgust. For no man can write who does not think that what he writes

anything is

for the time the history of the world

anything well

who

but

I it

In

or

do

does not esteem his work to

be of importance.

do

;

My

must not think

it

work may be of none, of none, or

I shall

not

with impunity. like

manner, there

is

throughout nature


NATURE

rgo

something mocking, something that leads us on and on, but arrives nowhere keeps no faith ;

with us.

We

All promise outruns the performance.

live in a

system of approximations.

end

is

also

temporary

prospective of ;

a

Every

some other end, which

round and

is

success no-

final

where.

We are encamped in nature, not domesti-

cated.

Hunger and

to drink

them how you our

will, leave

stomach

after the all

thirst lead us

on to

eat and

but bread and wine, mix and cook

;

arts

us hungry and

is full.

It

is

Our

and performances.

thirsty,

the same with

music, our

poetry, our language itself are not satisfactions,

but suggestions.

The hunger

for wealth, which

reduces the planet to a garden, fools the eager pursuer.

What

is

secure the ends of

the end sought

?

Plainly to

good sense and beauty from

the intrusion of deformity or vulgarity of any kind.

But what an operose method What a means to secure a little conversation 1

train of

i

This palace of brick and stone, these servants, this kitchen, these stables, horses and equipage, this bank-stock and file of mortgages trade to ;

all

the world, country-house and cottage by the

waterside,

and

all

spiritual

for a little conversation, high, clear !

Could

not be haci as well by

it

beggars on the highway

?

No,

all

these things


NATURE

191

came from successive efforts of these beggars to remove friction from the wheels of life, and give opportunity.

avowed ends

Conversation, character, were the ;

wealth was good as

the animal cravings, cured the

appeased

it

smoky chimney,

silenced the creaking door, brought friends to-

gether in a

warm and

quiet room, and kept the

children and the dinner-table in a different apart-

ment. but

it

Thought,

virtue, beauty,

were the ends

;

was known that men of thought and virtue

sometimes had the headache, or wet feet, or could good time whilst the room was getting warm

lose in

Unluckily, in the exertions

winter days.

necessary to remove these inconveniences, the

main attention has been diverted

to this object

the old aims have been lost sight

of,

and

to re-

That is move and Boston, London, the ridicule of rich men Vienna, and now the governments generally of the world, are cities and governments of the rich and the masses are not men, but poor men, that this is the ridicule is, men who would be rich of the class, that they arrive with pains and sweat friction has

come

to be the end. ;

;

and fury nowhere nothing.

They

;

when

are like

the conversation of a

all

is

done,

it

is

for

one who has interrupted

company

to

make

his

speech, and now has forgotten what he went to


NATURE

192

The

say.

appearance strikes the eye everywhere

Were

of an aimless society, of aimless nations.

the ends of nature so great and cogent as to exact

immense

this

of

sacrifice

men ?

Quite analogous to the deceits in

life,

there

might be expected, a similar effect on the eye from the face of external nature. There is is,

as

in

woods and waters

flattery,

enticement and

a certain

together with a failure to yield a pre-

sent satisfaction.

This disappointment

every landscape.

I

beauty of the

is felt

in

have seen the softness and

summer

overhead, enjoying, as

clouds floating feathery it

seemed, their height

and privilege of motion, whilst yet they appeared not so much the drapery of this place and hour, as forelooking to festivity

beyond.

some It

is

pavilions and gardens of

an odd jealousy, but the

poet finds himself not near enough to his

object.

The

flowers

pine-tree,

before is

still

the river, the

bank of

him does not seem to be elsewhere. This or this

nature. is

Nature

but outskirt

and echo of the triumph that has passed by and is now at its glancing

and a

far-oif reflection

splendor and heyday, perchance in the neighbor-

ing

fields, or, if

you stand

the adjacent woods.'

The

in

the

field,

then

in

present object shall

give you this sense of stillness that follows a


NATURE

193

What splendid of ineffable pomp and But who can go where

pageant which has just-gone by. distance,

what

recesses

loveliness in the sunset

!

they are, or lay his hand or plant his foot

Off they fall from the round world forever and ever. It is the same among the men and women as among the silent trees always a referred existence, an absence, never a presence and satisfaction. Is it that beauty can never be grasped ? in persons and in landscape is equally inaccessible ? The accepted and betrothed lover has lost the wildest charm of his maiden in her acceptance of him. She was heaven thereon

?

;

whilst he pursued her as a star

heaven

if

she cannot be

:

she stoops to such a one as he.'

What shall we say ance of that

of this omnipresent appear-

first projectile

impulse, of this

flat-

and balking of so many well-meaning creaMust we not suppose somewhere in the ? universe a slight treachery and derision ? Are tery

tures

we not engaged to a serious resentment of this use that is made of us ? Are we tickled trout, and fools of nature

?

heaven and earth lays

One look all

at the face

petulance at

soothes us to wiser convictions.

To

rest,

of

and

the intelli-

gent, nature converts itself into a vast promise,

and

will

not be rashly explained.^

Her secret

is


NATURE

194

Many

untold.

and many an CEdipus

he has the whole mystery teeming in Alas

!

the same sorcery has spoiled

syllable can he shape

no

orbit vaults like

on

his lips.

arrives

his brain. his

skill

,"

Her mighty

the fresh rainbow into the deep,

but no archangel's wing was yet strong enough to follow

But

it

it

also

and report of the return of the curve. appears that our actions are seconded

and disposed

We are

signed.

by

life

we

de-

escorted on every hand through

spiritual agents,

in wait

lies

to greater conclusions than

for us.

and a beneficent purpose

We

cannot bandy words

with Nature, or deal with her as we deal with

we measure our individual forces against hers we may easily feel as if we were the sport of an insuperable destiny. But if, instead of identifying ourselves with the work, we feel persons.

If

that the soul of the us,

we

ing

Workman

shall find the peace

first in

streams through

of the morning dwell-

our hearts, and the fathomless powers

of gravity and chemistry, and, over them, of life,

preexisting within us in their highest form."

The

uneasiness which

the thought of our

helplessness in the chain of causes occasions us, results

from looking too much

tion of nature, namely. is

Motion.

never taken from the wheel.

at

one condi-

But the drag Wherever the


NATURE

195

impulse exceeds, the Rest or Identity insinuates its compensation. All over the wide fields of earth grows the prunella or self-heal.'

After

every foolish day we sleep off the fumes and

of its hours; and though we are always engaged with particulars, and often enslaved to them, we bring with us to every experiment the furies

innate universal laws. in the

mind

These, while they exist

around us

as ideas, stand

in nature

forever embodied, a present sanity to expose

and cure the insanity of men. Our servitude to particulars betrays us into a hundred foolish expectations. We anticipate a new era from the invention of a locomotive, or a balloon

new engine

brings with

it

the old checks.

;

the

They

say that by electro-magnetism your salad shall be grown from the seed whilst your fowl is roasting for dinner it is a symbol of our modern ;

aims and endeavors, of our condensation and acceleration of objects

;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but nothing

nature cannot be cheated

;

man's

gained

is

life

is

hut

seventy salads long, grow they swift or grow they

slow.""

In these checks and impossibilities,

however, we find our advantage, not in the impulses. will,

that

we we

are

Let the victory

on that

side.

And

fall

less

than

where

it

the knowledge

traverse the whole scale of being, from


NATURE

196

the centre to the poles of nature, and have

some

stake in every possibility, lends that sublime

which philosophy and religion

lustre to death,

have too outwardly and

literally striven to ex-

press in the popular doctrine of the immortality

of the soul. the report.

spent

ball.

linger.

The reality is more excellent than Here Is no ruin, no discontinuity, no

The divine circulations

Nature

never

rest

nor

the incarnation of a thought,

is

and turns to a thought again, as ice becomes water and gas. The world Is mind precipitated, and the volatile essence is forever escaping again Into the state of free thought.

Hence

the virtue

and pungency of the Influence on the mind of natural objects, whether inorganic or organized.

Man tive,

man crystallized, man vegetaman Impersonated." That power

imprisoned,

speaks to

which does not respect quantity, which makes the whole and the particle delegates Its

its

its

equal channel,

smile to the morning, and

distils

Every mofor wisdom is

essence Into every drop of rain.

ment

instructs,

and every object;

Infused Into every form. into us as blood

;

it

Into us as pleasure

;

It

has been poured

convulsed us as pain It

enveloped us In

;

It slid

dull, mel-

ancholy days, or In days of cheerful labor did not guess

its

;

we

essence until after a long time.


VII

POLITICS GoLB and iron are good To buy iron and gold; All earth's fleece and food

For

their like are sold.

Boded Merlin wise. Proved Napoleon

Nor

great,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

kind nor coinage buys

Aught above

its rate.

Fear, Craft and Avarice

Cannot

rear a State.

Out of dust

What

is

to build

more than

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

dust,

Walls Amphion piled Phoebus

When With Find

An

stablish must.

the

Muses nine

the Virtues meet. to their design

Atlantic seat.

By green orchard boughs Fended from the

Where Furrow

When When

heat.

the statesman ploughs for the

the

'

wheat;

Church

is

the state-house

social is

worth.

the hearth.

Then the perfect State is come. The republican at home.


POLITICS dealing with INmember that riginal,

born

;

the its

institutions are not abo-

that they are not superior to the citizen

man

them was once the

;

are imitable,

good, we

all

alterable

may make

sion to the

act

of a

every law and usage was a man's

expedient to meet a particular case all

to re-

though they existed before we were

that every one of single

we ought

State

young

rigid repose, with certain

;

that they

we may make

Society

better.

citizen.

;

is

an

as

illu-

him in names, men and inIt lies before

stitutions rooted like oak-trees to the centre,

round which all arrange themselves the best they can. But the old statesman knows that there are no such roots and society is fluid centres, but any particle may suddenly become the centre of the movement and compel the system to gyrate round it as every man of ;

;

strong

Cromwell, does and every man of truth, like Plato

will, like

for a time,

Pisistratus or

or Paul, does forever.'

But

politics rest

on ne-

cessary foundations, and cannot be treated with levity.

Republics abound

believe that the laws

in

make

young civilians who the city, that grave


POLITICS

200

modes of living

modifications of the policy and

and employments of the population, that commerce, education and religion may be voted in or out and that any measure, though it were absurd, may be imposed on a people if only ;

you can get sufficient voices to make it a But the wise know that foolish legislation

law.

that the State

must follow and not

and progress of the

character

strongest usurper

only

who

that the

is

a

is

rope of sand which perishes in the twisting

;

lead the

citizen

the

;

quickly got rid of; and they

build on Ideas, build for eternity; and

form of government which

prevails

is

the expression of what cultivation exists in the

population which permits a

memorandum.

teem the

statute

We

The

it.

somewhat

so

:

has in the character of living

The

law

are superstitious,

much

men

is

is

only

and

to-day

?

Our

statute

stamp with our own

how is

feel

ye

:

it

Nature

we

soon becomes

unrecognizable, and in process of time will turn to the mint.^

we

this article

a currency which

portrait

it

its force.

statute stands there to say, Yesterday

agreed so and so, but

es-

life as

re-

not dempcratic,

is

nor limited-monarchical, but despotic, and

will

not be fooled or abated of any jot of her authority

by the pertest of her sons

;

and

as fast as


Central Part of Concord, iSjg


POLITICS the public the code It

mind

is

opened

201

to

more

intelligence,

seen to be brute and stammering.

is

speaks not articulately, and must be made

Meantime

the education of the general

never stops.

The

ple are prophetic.

reveries of the true

to.

mind

and sim-

What the tender poetic youth

dreams, and prays, and paints to-day, but shuns the ridicule of saying aloud, shall presently be the resolutions of public bodies

;

then shall be

and bill of rights through conflict and war, and then shall be triumphant law and establishment for a hundred years, until it gives place in turn to new prayers and pic-

carried as grievance

tures.'

The

history of the

State sketches

in

coarse outline the progress of thought, and fol-

lows at a distance the delicacy of culture and of aspiration.

The

theory of politics which has possessed the

mind of men, and which they have expressed the best they could in their laws and in their revolutions, considers persons

objects for

Of

whose

persons,

all

being identical with

its

and property

protection

have equal in nature.

as the

government

two

exists.

rights, in virtue

This

interest

of

of course

whole power demands a democracy. rights of all as persons are equal,

Whilst the

in virtue of their access to reaSon, their rights


POLITICS

202

in property are very unequal. his clothes,

accident,

and another owns

One man owns a county.

depending primarily on the

skill

virtue of the parties, of which there

degree, and secondarily equally,

and

its

This

is

on patrimony,

and

every

falls

un-

rights of course are unequal.

Personal rights, universally the same, demand a

government framed on the ratio of the census property demands a government framed on the ratio of owners and of owning. Laban, who has flocks and herds, wishes them looked after by an officer on the frontiers, lest the Midianites shall drive them off; and pays a tax to that end. Jacob has no flocks or herds and no fear of the Midianites, and pays no tax to the officer. It seemed fit that Laban and Jacob should have equal rights to elect the officer their persons, but that

should elect the sheep and additional

cattle.

officer

And

officers

if

who

to defend

is

Laban and not Jacob

who

is

to

guard the

question arise whether

or watch-towers should

be

provided, must not Laban and Isaac, and those

who must

sell

buy pro-

part of their herds to

tection for the rest,

judge better of

this,

and

with more right, than Jacob, 'who, because he is

a youth

not his

and a

own ?

traveller, eats their

bread and


POLITICS

203

In the earliest society the proprietors their

own

wealth, and so long as

it

made

comes

to

the owners in the direct way, no other opinion

would

any equitable community than

arise in

make

that property should

the law for property,

and persons the law for persons. But property passes through donation or inheritance to those who do not create it. Gift, in one case, makes it as really the new owner's,

made

as labor case,

it

the

first

owner's

:

in the other

of patrimony, the law makes an ownership

which

will

be valid in each man's view accord-

ing to the estimate which he sets on the public tranquillity. It

was not, however, found easy to embody

the readily admitted

principle

that

property

should make law for property, and persons for persons

;

since

persons

and property mixed

themselves in every transaction.

seemed

that the proprietors should have franchise than non-proprietors, principle of "calling that which

not that which

That as

it

At

last

settled that the rightful distinction

is

principle

more

it

was

elective

on the Spartan is

just, equal;

equal, just."

no longer looks so

self-evident

appeared in former times, partly because

doubts have arisen whether too much weight


POLITICS

204

had not been allowed

in the laws to property,

and such a structure given to our usages as allowed the rich to encroach on the poor^ and to keep them poor but mainly because there is an instinctive sense, however obscure and yet inarticulate, that the whole constitution of property, on its present tenures, is injurious, and its influence on persons deteriorating and de;

grading; that truly the only interest for the consideration of the State will

always follow persons

end of government that if will

men

it

is

;

that the

the culture of

highest

men

;

and

can be educated, the institutions

improvement and the moral

share their

sentiment If

persons ; that property

is

will write the

be not easy to

question, the peril

is

law of the land. settle the equity

less

our natural defences.

when we

We

of

this

take note of

are kept

by

better

guards than the vigilance of such magistrates as

we commonly

in greatest part

The

old,

elect.

Society always consists

of young and foolish persons.

who have

seen through the hypocrisy

of courts and statesmen, die and leave no wis-

dom

to their sons.

They believe

their

own

paper, as their fathers did at their age.

news-

With

such an ignorant and deceivable majority. States

would soon run

to ruin, but that there are Hmi-


POLITICS

205

beyond which the folly and ambition of Things have their laws,

tations

governors cannot go. as well as

men

grow unless

and things refuse to be

;

Property

with.'

will

it is

be protected. Corn

planted and manured

farmer will not plant or hoe are a

vest

hundred

to

will cut

but the

and har-

forms, persons and property

They

have their just sway.

will

;

not

unless the chances

one that he

Under any

it.""

must and

it

trifled

will

their power, as steadily as matter

its

exert

attraction.

Cover up a pound of earth never so cunningly, divide and subdivide it melt it to liquid, convert it to gas it will always weigh a pound it will always attract and resist other matter by the full virtue of one pound weight and the at;

;

;

:

tributes of a person, his wit will exercise,

;

if

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

his

moral energy,

under any law or extinguishing

anny, their proper force, covertly

and

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

if

not for the law, then against

not wholesomely, then poisonously or

tyr-

not overtly, then

;

it

;

if

with right,

by might.

The

boundaries of personal influence

possible to

fix, as

it is

im-

persons are organs of moral

or supernatural force.

Under

the dominion of

an idea which possesses the minds of multitudes, as civil

freedom, or the religious sentiment, the

powers of persons are no longer subjects of cal-


POLITICS

2o6

A

culation.

nation of

men unanimously

bent

on freedom or conquest can easily confound the arithmetic of statists, and achieve extravagant actions, out of all proportion to their means; as the Greeks, the Saracens, the Swiss, the Americans, and the French have done.' In like manner to every particle of property belongs

its

own

attraction.

A cent

the repre-

is

sentative of a certain quantity of corn or other

commodity. Its value is in the necessities of the animal man. It is so much warmth, so much

much water, so much land. The law may do what it will with the owner of property its just power will still attach to the cent. The law may in a mad freak say that all shall have bread, so

power except the owners of property they have no vote. Nevertheless, by a higher ;

shall

law,

the property will, year after year, write every statute that respects property.

The

non-propri-

etor will be the scribe of the proprietor.

What

the owners wish to do, the whole power of

property will do, either through the law or in defiance of

it.

Of

course

I

speak of

property, not merely of the great estates.

all

else

the

When

the rich are outvoted, as frequently happens, is

it

the joint treasury of the poor which exceeds

their accumulations.

Every man owns some-


POLITICS thing,

if it

is

207

only a cow, or a wheelbarrow,

or his arms, and so has that property to dis-

pose

of.'

The same

necessity which secures the rights

of person and property against the malignity or folly

of the magistrate, determines the form and

methods of governing, which are proper to each nation and to its habit of thought, and nowise transferable to other states of society.

country we are very vain of our

which are singular

tutions,

sprung, within the

memory

In this

political insti-

in this, that

they

of living men, from

the character and condition of the people, which

they

we

still

ostentatiously prefer

history. us.

in

express with sufficient fidelity,

We

them

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

any other

to

in

They are not better, but only fitter for may be wise in asserting the advantage

modern times of the democratic form, but

to

other states of society, in which religion consecrated the monarchical, that and not this was

expedient.

Democracy

is

better for us, because

the religious sentiment of the present time ac-

cords better with

it.

Born democrats, we

are

nowise qualified to judge of monarchy, which, to our fathers living in the monarchical idea,

was also relatively

though

right.

But our

in coincidence with the

institutions,

spirit

of the


POLITICS

2o8

age, have not any cal defects

Every

exemption from the

practi-

which have discredited other forms.

actual State

is

corrupt.

not obey the laws too

well.'

Good men must

What

satire

on

government can equal the severity of censure conveyed in the ^ord politic, which now for ages has signified cunning, intimating that the State is

a trick

?

The same

benign necessity and the same

practical abuse appear in the parties, into which

each State divides

itself,

of opponents and de-

fenders of the administration of the government. Parties are also

founded on

instincts,

and have

own humble aims than the They have nothing origin, but rudely mark some

better guides to their

sagacity of their leaders.

perverse in their real

and

lasting relation.

We

reprove the east wind or the party,

whose members,

might

as wisely

frost, as a political

for the

most

part, could

give no account of their position, but stand for the defence of those interests in which they find

themselves.

Our quarrel with them

begins when

they quit this deep natural ground at the bidding of some leader, and obeying personal con-

throw theihselves into the maintenance and defence of points nowise belonging to

siderations,

their system.

A

party

is

perpetually corrupted


POLITICS by

209

Whilst we absolve the associafrom dishonesty, we cannot extend the same

personality.

tion

They reap the rewards of the docility and zeal of the masses which they charity to their leaders.

Ordinarily our parties are parties of

direct.

cumstance, and not of principle interest

conflict with

in

;

the commercial

party of capitalists and that of operatives

which are which can

identical in their easily

of principle,

:

;

the

parties

moral character, and

change ground with each other

in the support of ties

cir-

as the planting

many

of their measures. Par-

as, religious sects,

or the party

of free-trade, of universal. suffrage, of abolition of slavery, of abolition of capital punishment, degenerate into personalities, or would inspire enthusiasm. this

men

The

vice of our leading parties in

country (which

may be

cited as a fair speci-

of these societies of opinion)

is

that they

do not plant themselves on the deep and necessary grounds to which they are respectively entitled,

but lash themselves to fury

in the carrying

of some local and momentary measure, nowise

commonwealth. Of the two great parties which at this hour almost share the nation between them, I should say that one has the best cause, and the other contains the best men. The philosopher, the poet, or the religious man. useful to the


POLITICS

2IO

of course wish to cast his vote with the

will

democrat, for free-trade, for wide suffrage, for the abolition of legal cruelties in the penal code,

manner the

and

for facilitating in every

the

young and the poor to the sources of wealth But he can rarely accept the per-

access of

and power. sons

whom

him

to

They have the

of these

liberalities.

not at heart the ends which give to

name of democracy what hope and

are in is

the so-called popular party propose

as representatives

it.

The spirit

destructive

virtue

of our American radicalism

and aimless

:

it is

not loving

has no ulterior and divine ends, but tive only out of hatred

and

is

selfishness.

;

it

destruc-

On

the

other side, the conservative party, composed of the most moderate, able and cultivated part of the population,

is

timid,

of property.

It vindicates

no

it

real

good,

generous policy

nor cherish the

and merely defensive no right, it aspires to

brands no crime, ;

it

arts,

it

proposes no

does not build, nor write,

nor foster religion, nor

tablish schools, nor encourage science, nor

es-

eman-

cipate the slave, nor befriend the poor, or the

Indian, or the immigrant.

when

in power, has the

expect in science,

art,

From

neither party,

world any benefit to

or humanity, at

all

com-

mensurate with the resources of the nation.


POLITICS I

do not

public.

man

for these defects despair of our re-

We

of chance.

211

mercy of any waves

are not at the

In the

strife

of ferocious

parties,

nature always finds itself cherished

children of the convicts at Botany

Bay

;

are

hu-

as the

found

to have as healthy a moral sentiment as other

Citizens of feudal states are alarmed

children. at

our democratic institutions lapsing into an-

archy, and the older and

more cautious among

ourselves are learning from Eiiropeans to look

with some terror at our turbulent freedom. is

said that in our license of construing the

stitution,

and

in the

we have no anchor

It

Con-

despotism of public opinion, ;

and one foreign observer

thinks he has found the safeguard in the sanctity

of Marriage

he has found

it

among in

us

;

and another thinks

our Calvinism.

Ames

Fisher

expressed the popular security more wisely,

when

he compared a monarchy and a republic, saying that a monarchy is a merchantman, which sails well, but will

sometimes strike on a rock and go

bottom whilst a republic would never sink, but then your to the

in water.

;

No

is

a raft,

feet are

which always

forms can have any dangerous

importance whilst we are befriended by the laws of things.

It

makes no

difference

tons' weight of atmosphere presses

how many

on our heads,


POLITICS

212

so long as the same pressure resists

Augment

it

within the

the mass a thousand-fold,

it

cannot begin to crush us, as long as reaction

is

lungs.

equal to action.

The

fact

forces, centripetal

and

and each force by

its

other.

Wild

of two poles, of two

centrifugal,

own

activity develops the

liberty develops iron conscience.

Want of liberty, by strengthening rum, stupefies conscience. only where there

is

'

it

law and deco-

Lynch-Iaw

A

mob

;

exist,

and only justice

We

trust

infinitely to

necessity which shines through

man

prevails self-

cannot be a

everybody's interest requires that

should not

must

'

greater hardihood and

subsistency in the leaders.

permanency

universal,

is

nature expresses itself in

teristically as in statues,

satisfies all.

the beneficent all

laws.

them

Hu-

as charac-

or songs, or railroads

;

and an abstract of the codes of nations would be a transcript of the common conscience. Governments have their origin in the moral identity of men. Reason for one

is

seen to be reason for

another, and for every other.

measure which

many or man finds a so

is

a middle

be they never

so resolute for their own.

Every

sanction for his simplest claims and

deeds, in decisions of his calls

There

satisfies all parties,

own mind, which

Truth and Holiness. In these

he

decisions


POLITICS citizens find a perfect agreement,

the

all

only in these to wear,

good use of

This truth and

is

time,

make

justice

and

good or what amount of

not in what

;

land or of public aid each

to

213

good

is

men

to eat,

entitled to claim.

presently endeavor

application of to the measuring of land,

the apportionment of service, the protection of life

or,

endeavors, no Yet absolute right every government is

The

idea after which each

and property. Their

first

doubt, are very awkward. is

the

governor

first

an impure theocracy.

community is

;

aiming to make and

is

The

the will of the wise man.

contrivance give their

efforts to

wise

its

law,

man

it

makes awkward secure his government by

cannot find in nature, and

but earnest

mend

it

by causing the entire people to or by a voices on every measure ;

as

;

double choice to get the representation of the

whole

;

or by a selection of the best citizens

or to secure the advantages of efficiency and internal peace

one,

who may

by confiding the government to himself select his agents.

All

forms of government symboHze an immortal government, common to all dynasties and in-

dependent of numbers, perfect where two men exist, perfect where there is only one man.

Every man's nature

is

a sufficient advertise-

â&#x20AC;˘


POLITICS

214

ment

My

him of

to

the character of his fellows.

and my wrong is their right and their Whilst I do what is fit for me, and ab-

right

wrong. stain

from what

is

unfit,

my neighbor and

often agree in our means, and a time to one end.

But whenever

dominion over myself not

I

may

come

it is

a

my

me, and

also, I overstep

skill

or strength than

he that he cannot express adequately of wrong, but

for

into false relations to him.

much more

have so

find

I

sufficient for

undertake the direction of him the truth, and

I shall

work together

lie,

and hurts

his sense

like a

lie

both

him and me. Love and nature cannot maintain the assumption it must be executed by a practical lie, namely by force, This undertaking for ;

another

is

the blunder which stands in colossal

ugliness in the governments of the world.

It

is

the same thing in numbers, as in a pair, only

not quite so

intelligible.

I

can see well enough

self-control,

and

my my

else act after

my

views

a great difference between

down to a somebody

quarter of the

what

I

setting myself

going to make ;

but when a

human race assume to tell me I may be too much disturbed

must do,

by the circumstances to surdity of their

see so clearly the ab-

command. Therefore

all

public

ends look vague and quixotic beside private ones.


POLITICS

215

For any laws but those which men make themselves are laughable.'

If

I

for

put myself in

my child, and we stand in one thought and see that things are thus or thus, the place of

that perception

is

both there, both

him that,

tory

he

will

But

act.

into the thought,

and, guessing

how

if,

This

man

to bind another.

is

me

the his-

does some-

A

cannot be acquainted with me, taxes ing from afar at

his plot,

with him, ordain this or

it is

never obey me.^

is

are

without carrying

look over into

I

of governments, â&#x20AC;&#x201D; one

thing which

We

law for him and me.

man who

me

;

look-

ordains that a part of

my

labor shall go to this or that whimsical end,

not as

but as he happens to fancy.

I,

the consequence.

Of

all

debts

men

Behold are

least

pay the taxes. What a satire is this Everywhere they think they on government get their money's worth, except for these.' Hence the less government we have the better, the fewer laws, and the less confided willing to

!

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

power.

The

antidote to this abuse of formal

government is the influence of private character, the appearance the growth of the Individual the of the principal to supersede the proxy ;

;

appearance of the wise isting

government

is, it

man

;

of

whom

the ex-

must be owned, but a


POLITICS

2i6

That which

shabby imitation. to

educe

;

unto

;

that

is

man

inter-

deliver,

is

the end of Nature, to reach

this coronation

the wise

things tend

go to form and

course, revolutions,

character

all

which freedom, cultivation,

of her king.

To

educate

the State exists, and with the ap-

pearance of the wise

man

The

the State expires.

appearance of character makes the State unnecessary.

The

wise

army,

fort,

or

man

is

He

the State,

navy, â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he

loves

men

needs no too well

no bribe, or feast, or palace, to draw friends to him no vantage ground, no favorable circumstance. He needs no library, for he has not done thinking no church, for he is a prophet no statute-book, for he has the lawgiver no money, for he is value no road, for he is at home where he is no experience, for the life of the creator shoots through him, and looks from his eyes. He has no personal friends, for he who has the spell to draw the prayer and piety of all men unto him needs not husband and educate a few to share with him a select and poetic life. His relation to men is angelic his memory is myrrh to them his presence, frankincense and flowers.' ;

;

;

;

;

;

;

We

think our civilization near

but we are yet only

at the

its

meridian,

cock-crowing and


POLITICS the

morning

is

is

all

rulers

from

As

in its infancy.

power, as the rightful lord

political

tumble

In our barbarous society the

star.

of character

influence

217

who

a

to

is

their chairs, its presence

Malthus and Ricardo Annual Register is silent in

hardly yet suspected.

quite omit

it

;

the

;

the Conversations' Lexicon

it is

not set

down

;

the President's Message, the Queen's Speech, it and yet it is never noEvery thought which genius and piety

have not mentioned thing.

;

throw into the world, gladiators in the

lists

their frocks of force

of worth.

I

ambition

is

The

alters the world.'

of power

feel,

through

all

and simulation, the presence

think the very

strife

of trade and

confession of this divinity

;

and

successes in those fields are the poor amends,

the fig-leaf with which the to hide

its

nakedness.

shamed soul attempts

I find

the like unwilling

homage in all quarters. It is because we know how much is due from us that we are impatient to show some petty talent as a substitute for

We

by a conscience of this right to grandeur of character, and are false to But each of us has some talent, can do someit. what useful, or graceful, or formidable, or amusing, or lucrative. That we do, as an apology to others and to ourselves for not reaching the worth.

are haunted


POLITICS

21

mark of a good and equal satisfy us, whilst we thrust

But it does not it on the notice of throw dust in their companions. It may our eyes, but does not smooth our own brow, or life.

when we walk abroad. We do penance as we go. Our talent is a sort of expiation, and we are congive us the tranquillity of the strong

strained to reflect on our splendid

a certain humiliation, as

not as

one act of

many

our permanent energy.

moment

somewhat too acts, a fair

Most

fine,

with

and

expression of

persons of

ability

meet in society with a kind of tacit appeal. Each seems to say, I am not all here.' Senators and presidents have climbed so high with pain enough, not because they think the place specially agreeable, but as an apology for real worth, '

and

to vindicate their

This conspicuous chair

manhood is

their

in

our eyes.

compensation

to

themselves for being of a poor, cold, hard nature. class

They must do what

prehensile a

they can.

Like one

of forest animals, they have nothing but a tail

man found

;

climb they must, or crawl.

could enter into

persons and

If

himself so rich-natured that he

make

strict life

relations with the best

serene around him by the

dignity and sweetness of his behavior, could he afford to circumvent the favor of the caucus and


POLITICS

219

the press, and covet relations so hollow and

pompous

of

as those

body would be

a

politician

?

Surely no-

who could

a charlatan

afford to

be sincere.

The

tendencies of the times favor the idea of

self-government, and leave the individual, for all

own

code, to the rewards and penalties of his

constitution

which work with rnore energy

;

than we believe whilst we depend on

The movement

restraints.

been very marked

in this direction has

modern

in

artificial

history.

Much

has been blind and discreditable, but the nature

of the revolution the revolters It

not affected by the vices of is

a purely moral force.

was never adopted by any party

neither can be. all

is

for this

;

party,

and unites him

the race.

It

in

history,

It separates the individual

from

same time

at the

to

promises a recognition of higher

rights than those of personal freedom, or the

security of property.

A

man

has a right to

be employed, to be trusted, to be loved, to be revered.

The power

State, has

never been

agine that

all

if

of love, as the basis of a tried.

We

must not im-

things are lapsing into confusion

every tender protestant be not compelled to

bear his part in certain social conventions

doubt that roads can be

built, letters

;

nor

carried.


POLITICS

220

and the

fruit

ment of

now less

of labor secured, when the govern-

force

at

is

an end.

so excellent that ?

all

competition

is

hope-

could not a nation of friends even devise

better

ways

On

?

the other hand,

most conservative and timid a

Are our methods

fear

let

not the

anything from

premature surrender of the bayonet and the

system of

stands thus

;

is

are

quite superior to

our

will, it

there will always be a government

of force where

will

For, according to the order of

force.

nature, which

men

are selfish

;

and when they

pure enough to abjure the code of force they be wise enough to see

how

these public

ends of the post-office, of the highway, of com-

merce and the exchange of property, of museums

and

libraries,

of institutions of art and science

can be answered.

We

live in a

very low state of the world, and

pay unwilling tribute to governments founded on force. There is not, among the most religious and instructed men of the most religious and civil nations, a reliance on the moral senti-

ment and

a sufficient belief in the unity of things,

to persuade

them

that society can be maintained

without

artificial restraints, as

system

'

;

well as the solar

or that the private citizen might be

reasonable and a good neighbor, without the


POLITICS hint of a

jail

What

or a confiscation.

too, there never was in in the

221

power of

any man

rectitude

is

strange

sufficient faith

to inspire

him with

the broad design of renovating the State on the

and love. All those who have have been partial reform-

principle of right

pretended

this design

and have admitted in some manner the supremacy of the bad State. I do not call to ers,

mind

a single

human

being

who

has steadily

denied the authority of the laws, on the simple

ground of full

own moral

his

of genius and

full

nature.

of

Such designs,

faith as

they are, are

not entertained except avowedly as air-pictures.'

who

If the individual

exhibits

them dare to

think them practicable, he disgusts scholars and

churchmen

;

and men of

talent

and women of

superior sentiments cannot hide their contempt.

Not

the less does nature continue to

fill

the

heart of youth with suggestions of this enthusiasm, and there are

speak

in the plural

will say, I

man, will

to

if

I

can

exactly, I

have just been conversing with one

whom

make

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; indeed â&#x20AC;&#x201D; more number, now men,

it

no weight of adverse experience

moment appear impossible human beings might exercise

for a

that thousands of

towards each other the grandest and simplest sentiments, as well as a knot of friends, or a pair

of lovers.


VIII

NOMINALIST AND REALIST In coundess upward-striving waves

The moon-drawn

tide- wave strives:

In thousand far-transplanted

The

parent

So, in the

grafts

fruit survives;

new-bom

millions.

The

perfect

Adam

Not

less are

summer mornings

To every And each

lives.

dear

child they wake.

with novel

Fills for his

life his

proper sake.

sphere


NOMINALIST AND REALIST CANNOT

often

enough say

that a

man

is

I

only a relative and representative nature. Each is a hint of the truth, but far enough from being that truth which yet he quite newly and inevitably suggests to us.

If I seek it in him I Could any man conduct into the pure stream of that which he pretends

shall not find

me

to be

!

Long

it.

afterwards I find that quality else-

where which he promised me. The genius of the Platonists

how few

is

intoxicating to the student, yet

particulars of

their books.

it

can

I

detach from

The man momentarily

stands for

the thought, but will not bear examination a society of

men

all

;

and

will cursorily represent well

enough a certain quality and culture, for example, but separate chivalry or beauty of manners them and there is no gentleman and no lady in the group." The least hint sets us on the pursuit of a character which no man realizes. We have such exorbitant eyes that on seeing the smallest arc we complete the curve, and when the curtain is lifted from the diagram which it seemed to veil, we are vexed to find that no more was drawn than just that fragment of an ;


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

226 arc

which we

liberal in

first

beheld.

We

are greatly too

our construction of each other's faculty

and promise. Exactly what the parties have already done they shall do again but that which we inferred from their nature and inception, ;

That

they will not do.

That happens

them.

is

in nature, but not in

in the world,

often witness in a public debate.

which we

Each of

speakers expresses himself imperfectly

much

of -them hears

the

no one

;

that another says, such

is

mind of each and the who have only to hear and not to

the preoccupation of audience,

;

speak, judge very wisely and

wrongheaded and unskilful baters to his

own

affair.

superiorly

how

each of the de-

is

Great

men

or

men

of

great gifts you shall easily find, but symmetrical

men

When

never.'

I

meet

a pure intellectual

force or a generosity of aifection, I believe here

then

is

man

;

and

am

presently mortified by the

discovery that this individual able to his

companions respect

is

own ;

is

no more

or to the general ends than his

because the power which drew

not supported by the total

my

symphony

All persons exist to society by

of his talents.

some shining

avail-

trait

We

of beauty or

utility

which

borrow the proportions of the man from that one fine feature, and finish the

they have.


NOMINALIST AND REALIST portrait symmetrically rest

of his body

a person

which

;

is

false, for

small or deformed.

is

who makes

227

I

the

observe

good public appearance,

a

and conclude thence the perfection of his private character, on which this is based but he has no ;

He is

private character.

All our poets, heroes and

figure for holidays. saints, fail utterly in

to satisfy our idea, interest,

some one or to

fail

realization but in our

we

in

many

parts

draw our spontaneous

and so leave us without any hope of

geration of that

a graceful cloak or lay-

all fine

own

Our

future.

exag-

characters arises from the fact

identify each in turn with the soul.

there are

no such men

as

we

fable

But

no Jesus,

;

nor Pericles, nor Csesar, nor Angelo, nor Washington, such as

we have made.

a great deal of nonsense because

by great men. There I

is

We it

consecrate

was allowed

none without

believe that if an angel should

his foible.

come

to chant

the chorus of the moral law, he would eat too

much

gingerbread, or take liberties with private

letters, or

enough

do some precious

useful, but

society

who

it

is

worse that no

has fine

traits.

It is bad do anything

atrocity.

that our geniuses cannot

He

man is

is

fit

admired

for at

a distance, but he cannot come near without appearing a cripple. The men of fine parts


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

228

by solitude, or by courtesy, or by an acid worldly manner

protect themselves

or by

satire,

each concealing as he best can his incapacity

want

for useful association, but they

either love

or self-reliance.

Our

love of reality joins with this

native

experience to teach us a

little

reserve,

and to

dissuade a too sudden surrender to the brilliant

Young

of persons.

qualities

people admire

we grow

ents or particular excellences

;

we

effects, as

value total powers and

pression,

the quality,

The

things.

system

:

genius

the spirit of

is all.

we do not

The man,

try a solitary

The

but his habit.

as

acts

the im-

men and

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

it is

word or

which you

tal-

older

his act,

praise,

I

praise not, since they are departures from his faith,

and

are

mere compliances. The magnetism tribes and races in one polarity

which arranges is

alone to be respected

;

the

men

are steel-fil-

Yet we unjustly select a particle, and say, O steel-filing number one what heart-drawwhat prodigious virtues are ings I feel to thee

ings. '

!

!

these of thine

how

!

incommunicable stone

is

'

withdrawn

heap with the

mery

!

rest,

constitutional to thee, and

Whilst we speak the load-

down falls our filing in a and we continue our mum-

;

to the wretched shaving.

Let us go

for


NOMINALIST AND REALIST universals

for the

;

Human

dles. pirical

they say

you

magnetism, not for the nee-

and

see

it

its

A

pretensions.

persons are poor em-

personal influence

If they say

ignis fatuus. if

life

229

it is

small,

not,

by turns

it is ;

it is

great,

small it

;

it

you

borrows

is

an

is

great; it,

and

all its

size

see

from the momentary estimation of the speakers

:

the Will-of-the-wisp vanishes if you go too near,

vanishes

you go too

if

Who

one angle. a great

be

?

man

can

or no

far, tell

Who

?

and only blazes at if Washington be can

tell if

Yes, or any but the twelve, or

great gods of fame

?

And

six,

Franklin or three

they too loom and

fade before the eternal.

We

amphibious creatures, weaponed for

are

two elements, having two sets of faculties, the and the catholic. We adjust our in-

particular

strument for general observation, and sweep the heavens as easily

as

we pick out

a single figure

We

are practically

in the terrestrial landscape. skilful in detecting

no place

in

elements for which we have

our theory, and no name.

Thus we

are very sensible of an atmospheric influence in

men and

in bodies

of men, not accounted for in

an arithmetical addition of properties. is

not to

all

their measurable

There is a genius of a nation, which be found in the numerical citizens,


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

230

but which characterizes the society.

England,

strong, punctual, practical, well-spoken I

should nqt find

seek

it.

if I

In the parliament, in the play-house,

at dinner-tables, I

rich, ignorant,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

England

should go to the island to

might see

a great

number of

book-read, conventional, proud

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

men, many old women, and not anywhere the Englishman who made the good speeches, combined the accurate engines, and did the bold and nervous deeds. It is even worse in America, where, from the intellectual quickness of the race, the genius of the country is more splendid in its promise and more slight in its performance.' Webster cannot do the work of Webster. We conceive distinctly enough the French, the Spanish, the German genius, and it is not the less real that perhaps we should not meet in either of those nations a single individual

corresponded with the type.

who

We infer the spirit

of the nation in great measure from the language,

which

is

a sort of monument to which each forci-

ble individual in a course of many

has contributed a

good example of

stone.

And,

this social force

hundred years universally, a is

the veracity

of language, which cannot be debauched.

In

any controversy concerning morals, an appeal

may be made with

safety to the sentiments which


NOMINALIST AND REALIST the language of the people expresses.

231

Proverbs,

words and grammar-inflections convey the public sense with more purity and precision than the wisest individual.

In the famous dispute with the Nominalists, the Realists had a eral

ideas

are

good

Gen-

deal of reason."

They

essences.

are

our gods

:

they round and ennoble the most partial and

way of

sordid

living.

Our

cannot quite degrade our poetry.

The

day-laborer

proclivity to details

and divest

life is

reckoned

ing at the foot of the social scale, yet he

urated with the laws of the world.

of

is

sat-

His mea-

morning and night, and equinox, geometry, astronomy and sures are the hours

it

as stand-

;

solstice all

the

lovely accidents of nature play through his mind.

Money, which which

is

apology, as roses.

represents the prose of

life,

and

hardly spoken of in parlors without an is,

in its effects

and

laws, as beautiful

Property keeps the accounts of the

world, and

is

always moral.

The

property will

be found where the labor, the wisdom and the virtue have been in nations, in classes

whole

life-time

^

considered, with the

sations) in the individual also.

How

and (the

compenwise the

world appears, when the laws and usages of nations are largely detailed,

and the completeness


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

232

of the municipal system thing

out.

left

is

If

and the custom-houses, the ries' offices,

considered

is

you go

No-

!

into the markets

insurers'

and nota-

the offices of sealers of weights and

measures, of inspection of provisions,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

will

it

man had made it all. Wherever a wit like your own has been before you go, you, and has realized its thought. The Eleuappear

as if

one

sinian mysteries, the Egyptian architecture, the

Indian astronomy, the Greek sculpture, show that there always were seeing

The world

in the planet. ties,

and knowing men is

of masonic

full

of guilds, of secret and public legions of

honor

;

that of scholars, for

example

;

and

of gentlemen, fraternizing with the upper

of every country and every I

am

very

much

culture.'

struck in literature by the

appearance that one person wrote as if the editor

that class

all

of a journal planted

the books

his

body of

reporters in different parts of the field of action,

and relieved some by others from time but there

is

to time

such equality and identity both of

judgment and point of view in the narrative that it is plainly the work of one all-seeing, all-hearlooked into Pope's Odyssey

ing gentleman.

I

yesterday

as correct

:

it is

canon of to-day as

if it

and elegant

after

our

were newly written. The


NOMINALIST AND REALIST modernness of

all

good books seems

What

an existence as wide as man." I feel

as if I did;

what

is

ill

to give

is

done

233

I

well

me

done

reck not

Shakspeare's passages of passion (for exam-

of.

ple, in

Lear and Hamlet) are

of the present year.

I

am

very dialect

in the

faithful again to the

whole over the members in. my use of books. I find the most pleasure in reading a book in a

manner

least flattering to the author.

Proclus, and sometimes Plato, as

I

I

read

might read

a dictionary, for a mechanical help to the fancy

and the imagination. I read for the lustres, as if one should use a fine picture in a chromatic experiment, for its rich colors. 'T is not Proclus, but a piece of nature and fate that I explore. It is

a greater joy to see the author's author, than

himself. I

found

A

higher pleasure of the same kind

lately at a concert,

where

I

went to hear

Handel's Messiah. As the master overpowered the littleness and incapableness of the perform-

and made them conductors of his electricity, was easy to observe what efforts nature was making, through so many hoarse, wooden and imperfect persons, to produce beautiful voices, fluid and soul-guided men and women. The genius of nature was paramount at the oratorio.* ers

so

it

This preference of the genius to the parts

is


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

234

the secret of that deification of art, which in all superior minds.

Art, in the

is

found pro-

artist, is

portion, or a habitual respect to the whole by

an eye loving beauty in der and charm of

which

it

sible to

denotes.

human

it

details.

Proportion

is

There

beings.

does not exaggerate.

And

the won-

the sanity in insanity

is

almost imposis

no one who

In conversation,

men

are

encumbered with personality, and talk too much. In modern sculpture, picture and poetry, the beauty is miscellaneous the artist works here and there and at all points, adding and adding, ;

instead of unfolding the unit of his thought.

we must have, or no artist but they must be means and never other. The eye must not lose sight for a moment of the purBeautiful details

;

Lively boys write to their ear and eye, and the cool reader finds nothing but sweet

pose.

jingles in

it.

When

they grow older, they

re-

spect the argument.

We

obey the same

intellectual integrity

when

we study in exceptions the law of the world. Anomalous facts, as the never quite obsolete rumors of magic and demonology, and the new allegations

of phrenologists and neurologists,

are of ideal use.

Homoeopathy

is

They

are

good

insignificant as

an

indications. art

of heal-


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

235

ing, but of great value as criticism

on the hygeia

or medical practice of the time.

So with Mes-

merism, Swedenborgism, Fourierism, and the Millennial Church

enough, but good

;

they are poor pretensions

criticism

on the

science, phi-

losophy and preaching of the day.

For these

abnormal insights of the adepts ought to be normal, and things of course.' All things show us that on every side

we

are

seems not worth while

very near to the best.

It

to execute with too

much

some one inwhen preand we shall burst

pains

tellectual, or aesthetical, or civil feat,

sently the

dream

will scatter,

into universal power.

The

reason of idleness

and of crime is the deferring of our hopes. Whilst we are waiting we beguile the time with jokes, with sleep, with eating and with crimes.

Thus we all

settle it

in

our cool

the agents with which

we

when we

flout the surfaces.

I

deal are subalterns,

and

life

live at the centre

and

which we can well afford will be simpler

libraries, that

to let pass,

wish to speak with

spect of persons, but sometimes

I

all

re-

must pinch

myself to keep awake and preserve the due decorum. They melt so fast into each other that they are like grass and trees, and it needs an


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

236

effort to treat

them

man

uninspired

as individuals.

Though

the

certainly finds persons a con-

household matters, the divine man does not respect them ; he sees them as a rack veniency

in

of clouds, or a

fleet

of ripples which the wind

drives over the surface of the water.' rebellion.

is flat

Nature

will

But

this

not be Buddhist

she resents generalizing, and insults the philoso-

pher

in every

man

moment

with a million of fresh

It is all idle talking

particulars. is

a whole, so

partial

not to see

is

:

he also a part

What you

it.

as ;

much and

distribution only distributes

your

and

section.

You

were

say in your

pompous class

it

as a

you

have not got

into

rid of

by denying them, but are the more parare one thing, but Nature is one thing and the other thing, in the same moment.^ She parts tial.

will

You

not remain orbed

in

a thought, .but rushes

and when each person, inflamed to a fury of personality, would conquer all things to his poor crotchet, she raises up against him another person, and by many persons incarnates again a sort of whole. She will have all. Nick Bottom cannot play all the parts, work it how into persons

he

may

world

;

;

there will be

will

be round.

somebody

else,

and the

Everything must have

its

flower or effort at the beautiful, coarser or finer


NOMINALIST AND REALIST according to

mend

They

its stuff.

relieve

237

and recom-

each other, and the sanity of society

is

a

balance of a thousand insanities.

She punishes and will only forgive an inducrare and casual. We like to come

abstractionists,

tion

which

is

to a height of land as

we value

But

it

is

and see the landscape, just remark in conversation.

a general

not the intention of Nature that we

We

by general views.

and water, run about all day among the shops and markets, and get our clothes and shoes made and mended, and are the victims of these details and once in a fortnight we arrive perhaps should

live

fetch fire

;

at a rational

fatuated, if

moment. If we were not thus inwe saw the real from hour to hour,

we should not be here

to write

and to read,

but should have been burned or frozen long

She would never get anything done, if she suffered Admirable Crichtons and universal ago.

geniuses.

dreams

all

She loves better

night of wheels, and a

part of his horse

;

these are her hands.

for she

As

is

shall eat the waste

poultry shall pick the

full

of work, and

the frugal farmer takes

care that his cattle shall eat

and swine

who groom who is

a wheelwright.

down of

the rowen,

his house,

crumbs, â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

and

so our eco-

nomical mother dispatches a new genius and


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

238

habit of

mind

into every district

and condition

of existence, plants an eye wherever a new ray

of light can

man

fall,

and gathering up into some

every property in the universe, establishes

thousand-fold occult mutual attractions

among

wash and waste of power may be imparted and exchanged. Great dangers undoubtedly accrue from this her oiFspring, that

all

this

incarnation and distribution of the godhead, and

hence Nature has her maligners, as

she were

if

and Alphonso of Castile fancied he could have given useful advice. But she does not go Circe

;

unprovided

;

of the cup.'

she has hellebore Solitude

crop of despots.

The

bottom

at the

would ripen

a plentiful

recluse thinks of

men

as

manmore and less.

having his manner, or as not having

his

and as having degrees of it, But when he comes into a public assembly he sees that men have very different manners from his own, and in their way admirable. In his childhood and youth he has had many checks and censures, and thinks modestly enough of his own endowment. When afterwards he comes ner

;

to unfold

it

in propitious circumstance,

the only talent cess,

;

he

is

it

seems

delighted with his suc-

and accounts himself already the fellow of

the great.

But he goes into

a

mob,

into a bank-


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

239

ing house, into a mechanic's shop, into a mill, into a laboratory, into a ship, into a camp, and in each

new

other talents

no better than an idiot take place, and rule the hour. The

place he

is

rotation which whirls every leaf and pebble to

the meridian, reaches to every gift of man, and

we

all

take turns at the top.

For Nature, who abhors mannerism, has her heart on breaking up

styles

all

and

set

tricks,

and it is so much easier to do what one has done before than to do a new thing, that there is a perpetual tendency to a set mode. In every conversation, even the highest, there tain trick,

which

may

is

a cer-

be soon learned by an

acute person, and then that particular style con-

Each man too is a tyrant in tendency, because he would impose his idea on tinued indefinitely.

and their trick is their natural defence. absorb the race but Tom Paine would Jesus or the coarsest blasphemer helps humanity by others

;

;

resisting this exuberance of power.

immense

Hence

benefit of party in politics, as

faults of character in a chief,

it

which the

the

reveals

intellec-

tual force of the persons, with ordinary

oppor-

tunity and not hurled into aphelion by hatred,

could not have seen.

what

Since

we

are

benefit that there should be

all

so stupid,

two stupidi-


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

240 ties

It is like that brute

!

advantage so essential

to astronomy, of having the diameter of the earth's orbit for a base of

cracy State

is

and

in the schools

resist the consolidation

men.

If ? '

alive

its

triangles.

Demo-

morose, and runs to anarchy, but in the indispensable to

is

it

of

men

all

into a few

John was perfect, why are you and I As long as any man exists, there is

some need of him let him fight for his own. A new poet has appeared a new character approached us why should we refuse to eat bread until we have found his regiment and section in our old army-files ? Why not a new man ? Here is a new enterprise of Brook Farm, of Skeneateles, of Northampton ' why so impatient to baptize them Essenes, or Port-Royalists, or Shakers, or by any known and effete name ? Let it be a new way of living. Why have only ;

;

;

:

two or three ways of life, and not thousands ? Every man is wanted, and no man is wanted much. We came this time for condiments, not for corn. We want the great genius only for joy

one

;

one

star

more

in

for

tree

more

in our constellation, for

our grove.

But he thinks we

wish to belong to him, as he wishes to occupy us.

He

greatly mistakes us.

done well

if I

I

think I have

have acquired a new word from


a

NOMINALIST AND REALIST good author and my business with him ;

find

my own, though

down

is

to

were only to melt him

into an epithet or an image for daily use

" Into

To

it

241

my

paint will I grind thee,

bride!

"

embroil the confusion and make

'

it

im-

possible to arrive at any general statement,

when we have

insisted

on the imperfection of

individuals, our affections and our experience

urge that every individual

and

is

entitled to honor,

a very generous treatment

paid.

A

is

sure to be re-

recluse sees only two or three persons,

and allows them

all

their

themselves at large.

The

room

;

they spread

statesman looks at

many, and compares the few habitually with Yet are they not others, and these look less. entitled to this generosity of reception ? and is not munificence the means of insight ? For though gamesters say that the cards beat all the players, though they were never so skilful, yet in the contest

we

are

now

considering, the players

and share the power of the genius, the odds are that you are out of your reckoning, and instead of the poet, are censuring your own caricature of him. For there is somewhat spheral and inare also the game, cards.

If

finite in

you

criticise a fine

every man, especially in every genius.


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

242 which, with is

if

you can come very near him, sports For rightly every man

your limitations.

all

through which heaven floweth,' and fancied I was criticising him, I was cen-

a channel

whilst I

suring or rather terminating

my own

taxing Goethe as a courtier, ing, worldly,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

I

took up

unbehev-

artificial,

this

After

soul.

book of Helena,

and found him an Indian of the wilderness,

a

piece of pure nature like an apple or an oak, large as

morning or

and virtuous

night,

as a

brier-rose.

But played.

care

is

taken that the whole tune

we were not kept among

If

shall be

surfaces,

everything would be large and universal

;

now

the excluded attributes burst in on us with the

more brightness

that they have been excluded.

" Your turn now,

The

the game.'' its

of

my

turn next,"

is

the rule of

universality being hindered in

primary form, comes in the secondary form all sides

;

the points

come

in succession to the

meridian, and by the speed of rotation a new

whole

is formed. Nature keeps herself whole and her representation complete in the experi-

ence of each mind.

She

vacant in her college.

world that

all

only retire a

It

suffers is

no

seat to be

the secret of the

things subsist and do not die, but little

from sight and afterwards


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

243

Whatever does not concern us

return again.

As soon

concealed from us.

as a person

is

is

no

longer related to our present well-being, he concealed, or dies, as

and persons

we

Really,

say.

is

things

are related to us, but according to

our nature they act on us not

and we

succession,

all

are

once but

at

made aware of

sence one at a time.

All persons,

in

their preall

things

whiqh we have known, are here present, and

many more

than we see

;

the world

the ancient said, the world

and

if

we saw

all

is

3.

plenum or solid;

things that really surround us

we should be imprisoned and unable For though nothing is impassable to but

all

things are pervious to

ways, yet this

them.

is

As soon

As

is full.

it

and

to

move.

the soul, like high-

only whilst the soul does not see as the soul sees

stops before that object.

any

object,

Therefore the divine

Providence which keeps the universe open every direction to the soul, conceals niture

and

all

it

all

in

the fur-

the pe;rsons that do not concern

a particular soul, from the senses of that individual.

Through solidest

eternal things the

finds his road as if they did not subsist,

not once suspect their being.

As soon

needs a new object, suddenly he beholds

no longer attempts to pass through

it,

man

and does as it,

he

and

but takes


NOMINALIST AND REALIST another way. When he has exhausted for 244

the

time the nourishment to be drawn from any one

person or thing, that object

and though

his observation,

ate

is

withdrawn from in his

still

immedi-

neighborhood, he does not suspect

Nothing

sence.

is

obituaries,

dead

mock

dead, and endure

men

:

feign themselves

funerals

strange disguise.

Jesus

at times

;

and could

all,

is

some new and

not dead

he

;

is

very

nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet,

:

nor Aristotle

them

and mournful

and there they stand looking out of

the window, sound and well, in

well alive

pre-

its

we

believe

easily tell the

we have

seen

names under

which they go. If

we cannot make voluntary and

conscious

steps in the admirable science of universals,

let

us see the parts wisely, and infer the genius of nature from the best particulars with a becoming charity.

What

is

best in each kind

is

an index

of what should be the average of that thing.

Love shows me closing to I

infer

me

in

my friend

a

dis-

hidden wealth, and

an equal depth of good in every other

direction.

a

the opulence of nature, by

It

is

commonly

good pear or apple

said

costs

pains to rear than a poor one

no work of

art,

no speech, or

or friend, but the best.

by farmers

that

no more time or so I would have

;

action, or thought,


NOMINALIST AND REALIST The end and

game,

life is

245

the means, the gamester and the

made up of the

reaction of these

intermixture and

two amicable powers, whose

marriage appears beforehand monstrous, as each

and tends

denies

must

we

reconcile the contradictions as

and

their discord

We

abolish the other.

to

can, but

concord introduce wild

their

No

and speech.

absurdities into our thinking

sentence will hold the whole truth, and the only

way

which we can be

in

selves the

lence

;

Speech

is

;

is

by giving our-

better than silence

better than speech

is

contact

lie

just,

;

— All

and

are,

but one thing,

this old

Two-Face,

by

may

therefore ;

which any

be affirmed or denied. assert that every

I

that nature secures

him

is

creator-crea-

ture, mind-matter, right-wrong, of

proposition

;

same time

are not, at the

All the universe over, there

the like.

tialist

si-

every atom has a sphere of repulsion

— Things — and fitly

;

things are in

man

as an

is

Very a par-

instrument

self-conceit, preventing the tendencies to re-

and now further assert, that, each man's genius being nearly and affectionately

ligion

and science

explored, he

is

;

justified in his individuality, as

immense

his nature is found add that every man

to be

our earth, whilst

spins on

it

is

;

and now

I

a universalist also, and, as its

own

axis, spins

,


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

246 all

the time around the sun through the celestial

spaces, so the least of

most though

its

rational children, the

dedicated to his private affair, as

works

out,

were under a disguise, the universal

it

problem.

We

pumpkins

;

fancy

men

are individuals

but every pumpkin in the

;

so are

goes

field

through every point of pumpkin history. The is senator and rich man, has ripened beyond possibility of sincere radicalism, and unless he can resist the sun, he

rabid democrat, as soon as he

must be conservative the remainder of his days. Lord Eldon said in his old age that " if he were to begin life again, he would be damned but he would begin

We

hide this universality

appears at children.

to it.

as agitator."

all

points.

There

is

We

we

if

can, but

it

are as ungrateful as

nothing we cherish and

strive

draw to us but in some hour we turn and rend We keep a running fire of sarcasm at igno-

rance and the

perchance, a

life

of the senses

fair girl, a

;

piece of

then goes by, life,

happy, and making the commonest tiful

gay and

offices

beau-

by the energy and heart with which she

does them

;

and seeing

this

her and them, and say,

'

we admire and

Lo

!

love

a genuine crea-

ture of the fair earth, not dissipated or too early

ripened by books, philosophy, religion, society.


NOMINALIST AND REALIST or care

247

insinuating a treachery and contempt

' !

we had so long loved and wrought in ourand others. If we could have any security against moods

for

all

selves

!

If the profoundest prophet could be holden to

words, and the hearer

his

who

is

ready to

sell all

and join the crusade could have any certificate that to-morrow his prophet shall not unsay his testimony But the Truth sits veiled there on the Bench, and never interposes an adamantine !

syllable

and the most sincere and revolutionary

;

doctrine, put as

if

the ark of

God were

carried

forward some furlongs, and planted there for the succor of the world, shall in a few weeks be coldly " I set aside by the same speaker, as morbid ;

thought

I

was

right,

but

I

was not,"

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

the

new

same immeasurable credulity demanded if audacities. If we were not of all opinions we did not in any moment shift the platform on which we stand, and look and speak from another if there could be any regulation, any for

!

!

'

one-hour-rule,' that a

his point

am

man should never

leave

of view without sound of trumpet.

always insincere, as always

I

knowing there

are other moods.'

How ing

all

sincere

that

lies

and confidential we can be, sayin the mind, and yet go away


NOMINALIST AND REALIST

248

feeling that

all is

yet unsaid, from the incapacity

know each

of the parties to

to

know my

other, although they

My

companion assumes mood and habit of thought, and we

use the same words

!

go on from explanation to explanation until all is said which words can, and we leave matters just as they were at

assumption.

Is

it

because of that vicious

first,

that every

man

believes every

other to be an incurable partialist, and himself a universalist

men that I long

;

endeavored to show

I

my

good

liked everything by turns and nothing

that I loved the centre, but doated on the

;

superficies

to

talked yesterday with a pair of

I

?

philosophers

me

;

that

mice and

woke up glad

I

rats

loved man, ;

if

men seemed

that I revered saints, but

that the old pagan world stood

its

ground and died hard that I was glad of men of every gift and nobility, but would not live in their arms. Could they but once understand ;

that

I

loved to

heartily wished

poverty of

come

for

life

know

that they existed, and

them God-speed, yet, out of my

and thought, had no word or wel-

them when they came

to see me, and

could well consent to their living in Oregon

any claim

I felt

satisfaction.'

on them,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

it

would be

for

a great


IX

NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS A LECTURE READ BEFORE THE SOCIETY IN AMORY HALL, ON SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 1844 In the suburb, in the town.

On

the railway, in the square.

Came

a

beam of goodness down

Doubling daylight everywhere Peace

now

Beauty

:

each for malice takes.

weeds.

for his sinful

For the angel

Hope

Him

whom

an angel

aye makes she leads.


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

WHOEVER

has had opportunity of ac-

quaintance with society in

during the

New England

twenty-five years, with

last

those

middle and with those leading sections that may constitute any just representation of the character

and aim of the community,

will

have been

struck with the great activity of thought and

His

experimenting.

attention

must be com-

manded by

the signs that the Church, or

gious party,

is

and

is

falling

appearing in temperance and non-resist-

ance societies

;

and of socialists blies called

in ;

movements of

and

abolitionists

in very significant assem-

Sabbath and Bible Conventions

composed of ultraists, of

seekers, of

all

;

the soul

of the soldiery of dissent, and meeting to in

reli-

from the Church nominal,

call

question the authority of the Sabbath, of

the priesthood, and of the Church.

In these

movements nothing was more remarkable than the discontent they begot in the movers. spirit

The

of protest and of detachment drove the

members of these Conventions

to bear testimony

against the Church, and immediately afterwards to declare their discontent with these

Conven-


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

252

independence of their colleagues, and their impatience of the methods whereby they tions, their

were working. They defied each other,

like a

congress of kings, each of whom had a realm to rule,

and a way of

his

own

that

made

concert

What a fertility of projects for the One apostle thought all salvation of the world men should go to farming, and another that no man should buy or sell, that the use of money unprofitable.

!

was the cardinal was

in

tion.

evil

;

another that the mischief

our diet, that we eat and drink damnaThese made unleavened bread, and were

foes to the death to fermentation.

urged by the housewife that as well as

It

was

God made

in vain yeast,

dough, and loves fermentation just

dearly as he loves vegetation

;

as

that fermentation

develops the saccharine element in the grain, and

and more

digestible.'

they wish the pure wheat, and

will die but

makes

No it

;

it

more

palatable

shall not ferment.^

Stop, dear Nature, these

incessant advances of thine ever-rolling wheels

!

;

let

us scotch these

Others attacked the system

of agriculture, the use of animal manures

in farm-

and the tyranny of man over brute nature these abuses polluted his food. The ox must be taken from the plough and the horse from the

ing,

cart,

the hundred acres of the farm must be


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS spaded, and the

man must

253

walk, wherever boats

and locomotives will not carry him. Even the insect world was to be defended, that had been

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

too long neglected, and a society for the protection of

ground-worms, slugs and mosquitos was

to be incorporated without delay.

With

these

appeared the adepts of homoeopathy, of hydropathy, of mesmerism, of phrenology, and their

wonderful theories of the Christian miracles

Others assailed particular vocations,

as that

the lawyer, that of the merchant, of the facturer, of the

of

manu-

clergyman, of the scholar. Oth-

ers attacked the

institution of marriage as the

fountain of social

evils.

Others devoted them-

selves to the worrying of churches and meet-

ings for public worship

of antinomianism

seemed

new With

the

'

;

and the

among

to have their

fertile

forms

the elder puritans

match

in the

plenty of

harvest of reform. this din

of opinion and debate there

was a keener scrutiny of institutions and domestic life than any we had known ; there was sincere protesting against existing evils,

and there

were changes of employment dictated by conscience. No doubt there was plentiful vaporing,

and cases of backsliding might occur. But in each of these movements emerged a good result,


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

254

a tendency to the adoption of simpler methods,

and an assertion of the

Thus

man.

it

sufficiency of the private

was directly in the

spirit

and

genius of the age, what happened in one instance

when

a church censured

and threatened

to ex-

communicate one of its members on account of the somewhat hostile part to the church which his conscience led him to take in the anti-slavery business

;

the threatened individual immediately

excommunicated the church, in a public and formal process. This has been several times repeated

was excellent when

time, but of course loses

first is

it

:

Every

copied.

form, no matter

it

all

project in the

how

was done the

value

when

it

history of re-

violent and surprising,

is

good when it is the dictate of a man's genius and constitution, but very dull and suspicious

when adopted from beautiful in

another.

any man to say,

It '

is

I will

right and

take

this

coat, or this

book, or

this

yours,'

whom we

see the act to be original,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

in

and

to flow

him

;

'

as free

for

from the whole

spirit

then that taking

will

and divine

posed to

it.

;

resist the

when we miss in

measure of corn of

and

faith of

have a giving

but we are very easily

dis-

same generosity of speech and truth to character

originality


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS There was New England

255

in all the practical activities of

for the last quarter of a century,

a gradual withdrawal of tender consciences from

the social organizations.

There

observable

is

throughout, the contest between mechanical and spiritual

methods, but with a steady tendency

of the thoughtful and virtuous to a deeper belief

and reliance on spiritual facts. In politics, for example, it is easy

The

progress of dissent. rebellion

;

the country

off! let there be

to see the

country

is

of kings.

is full

full

of

Hands

no control and no interference

in the administration of the affairs of this king-

dom of me. Hence the growth of the doctrine and of the party of Free Trade, and the willingness to try that experiment, in the face of what appear incontestable facts. I confess, the motto of the Globe newspaper is so attractive to me that I can seldom find much appetite to read what is below it in its columns " The world So the country is freis governed too much." :

quently affording solitary examples of resistance to the government, solitary nullifiers,

themselves on their reserved rights

have reserved

all

their rights

;

who

who throw nay, who

;

reply to the

assessor and to the clerk of court that they

not

know the

State,'

do

and embarrass the courts of


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

256

law by non-juring and the commander-in-chief

of the

militia

by non-resistance.'

The same

disposition to scrutiny and dis-

sent appeared in

civil, festive,

A

domestic society.

neighborly, and

restless, prying, conscien-

tious criticism broke out in unexpected quarters.

Who my

gave

me

the

Why

coat?

money with which

bought

I

should professional labor and

that, of the counting-house be paid so dispro-

portionately to the labor of the

wood-sawyer?

me

gives

and

This whole business of Trade

to pause

false relations

porter

and think,

between

men

;

as

it

constitutes

inasmuch

as I

am

prone to count myself relieved of any responsibility to

behave well and nobly to that person

whom

I pay with money whereas if I had not commodity, I should be put on my good behavior in all companies, and man would be a benefactor to man, as being himself his only certificate that he had a right to those aids and services which each asked of the other.^ Am I ;

that

not too protected a person

? is

disparity between the lot of thee,

my

poor brother,

not defrauded of

my

my

there not a wide

me and

poor

the lot of

sister

?

Am

I

best culture in the loss of

those gymnastics which manual labor and the

emergencies of poverty constitute

?

I

find no-


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

257

thing healthful or exalting in the smooth con-

ventions of society

of saloons. prisoner,

do not

I

;

like the close air

begin to suspect myself to be a

I

though treated with

and luxury.

pay

I

this courtesy

all

my con-

a destructive tax in

formity.

The same

insatiable criticism

may be

traced

The

in the efforts for the reform of Education.

popular education has been taxed with a want of truth and nature.

It

was complained that

We

an education to things was not given. students of words

and

fifteen years,

wind, a

we

are shut

and come out

memory

We

thing.

:

course by the It

stars,

for ten or

with a bag of

know

We

is

a

legs,

do not know an

we cannot

tell

our

nor the hour of the day by

well if

we can swim and

skate.

are afraid of a horse, of a cow, of a dog,

The Roman

of a snake, of a spider. to teach a

boy nothing

standing.

The

mer

at last

of words, and do not

edible root in the woods,

We

in schools,

cannot use our hands, or our

or our eyes, or our arms.

the sun.

up

and recitation-rooms,

colleges,

are

old English rule was,

in the field,

And or to

it

seems

fish,

and

as if a

rule was

that he could not learn '

All sum-

all

winter in the study.'

man

should learn to plant,

or to hunt, that he might secure his


NEW

258

subsistence at his friends

ENGLAND, REFORMERS all

and not be painful

events,

The

and fellow-men.

science should be experimental also.

of a planet through a telescope course on astronomy

spark

in

is

to

lessons of

The

worth

sight

all

the

the shock of the electric

;

the elbow, outvalues

all

the theories

the taste of the nitrous oxide, the firing of an artificial

volcano, are better than volumes of

chemistry.

One

of the

inquisition

it

traits

fixed

of the new

on our

to the dead languages.

The

spirit

is

the

scholastic devotion

ancient languages,

with great beauty of structure, contain wonderful

remains of genius, which draw, and always draw, certain like-minded men,

and

Roman men,

study

;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

in

all

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Greek

will

men,

countries, to their

but by a wonderful drowsiness of usage

they had exacted the study of (say two centuries ago), Latin

all

men. Once

and Greek had and culture

a strict relation to all the science

there was in Europe, and the Mathematics had a

momentary importance

ity in physical

science.

stereotyped as education,

at some era of activThese things became as the manner of men

But the Good Spirit never cared for the colleges, and though all men and boys were now drilled in Latin, Greek and Mathematics, it had

is.


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

259

and dry on the beach, and was now creating and feeding other matters quite left these shells high

at other

But

ends of the world.

in a

hundred

high schools and colleges this warfare against

common-sense and is

as

soon

as

goes on.

still

ten years, the pupil

Four, or

six,

or

parsing Greek and Latin,

is

he leaves the University, as

it

ludicrously styled, he shuts those books for

the last time.

Some thousands of young men

are graduated at our colleges in

this

country

every year, and the persons who, at forty years, read Greek, can

still

all

be counted on your

never met with ten.

Four or

hand.

I

sons

have seen who read Plato.

I

But

is

not

this absurd, that the

five per-

whole

liberal

talent of this country should be directed in

its

best years on studies which lead to nothing

What

was the consequence

Latin some spell to ?

Some

?

intelligent

Greek and conjure with, and not words

persons said or thought,

of reason

?

'

Is

that

If the physician, the lawyer, the

divine, never use

need never learn

it

it

come at their ends, I come at mine. Conjur-

to

to

gone out of fashion, and I will omit this conjugating, and go straight to affairs.' So they jumped the Greek and Latin, and read

ing

is

law, medicine, or sermons, without

it.

To

the


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

26o

astonishment of

even ground

at

ular graduates,

all,

men

the self-made

took

once with the oldest of the reg-

and

in a

few months the most

New York gownsmen was

conservative circles of Boston and

had quite forgotten who of college-bred, and

One tendency

who was

their not.'

appears alike in the philoso-

phical speculation and in the rudest democrati-

movements, through

cal all

all

the petulance and

the puerility, the wish, namely, to cast aside

the superfluous and arrive at short methods

urged, as

human

I

suppose, by an intuition that the

spirit is

equal to

all

emergencies, alone,

and that man is more often injured than helped by the means he uses. 1

conceive this gradual casting off of material

aids,

and the indication of growing

trust in the

private self-supplied powers df the individual, to be

the affirmative principle of the recent

philosophy, and that

found truth and

is

it

is

feeling

its

hour to the happiest conclusions. cede that in

this, as in

tual activity, there has

protest

be got

;

much was

rid

own

pro-

reaching forward at this very I

readily con-

every period of

intellec-

been a noise of denial and

to be resisted,

of by those

who were

much was

to

reared in the

old, before they could begin to affirm

and

to


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS construct.

Many

moval of rubbish

261

a reformer perishes in his re;

and

siveness of the class.

that

makes the

They

are partial

ofFen;

they

work they pretend. They in the assault on the kingdom lose their way of darkness they expend all their energy on some accidental evil, and lose their sanity and power of benefit. It is of little moment that

are not equal to the ;

one or two or twenty errors of our be corrected, but of

much

social

system

man

be in

institutions,

which

that the

his senses.

The criticism and we have

attack

witnessed, has

on

made one

thing plain,

that society gains nothing whilst a man, not

himself renovated, attempts to renovate things

around him

:

he has become tediously good

in

some

particular but negligent or narrow in the

rest

and hypocrisy and vanity

;

are often the

disgusfing result.' It

is

handsomer

to remain in the establish-

ment better than the establishment, and conduct that in the best manner, than to

make

a sally

by some single improvement, without supporting it by a total regeneration. Do not be so vain of your one objection. Do you think there is only one ? Alas my good friend,

against evil

!

there

is

no part of society or of

life

better than


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

262

any other

wrong

All our things are right and

part.

The wave of

together.

our institutions our Marriage

?

Our

our education, our

Do you

customs. perty

It

?

is

evil

Do you

alike.

marriage diet,

is

washes

no worse than

our trade, our

social

complain of the laws of Pro-

a pedantry to give such importance

Can we not play the game of life

to them.

all

complain of

these counters, as well as with those stitution of property, as well as

?

with

in the in-

out of

it

Let

?

into it the new and renewing principle of and property will be universality. No one

love,

gives

the impression of superiority to the institution,

which he must give who

no

will

reform

It

it.

makes

what you say, you must make me that you are aloof from it by your natural

difference

feel

;

and supernatural advantages do

end of

Now

it,

all

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; do

men

see

are

how man

on one

side.

to be heard against property.

an Idea, I

is

against property as

cannot afford to be

nor to waste

all

I

Only Love, only we hold it. and

my time in attacks. I

it.

No man deserves

irritable

go out of church whenever timent

easily see to the

can do without

If

hear a

could never stay there

captious,

five

I

should

false sen-

minutes.

But why come out ? the street is as false church, and when I get to my house, or

as the

to

my


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

263

my speech, I have not got away When we see an eager assailant of

manners, or to

from the

lie.

one of these wrongs, a like asking him.

your one virtue

?

special reformer,

What

right have you,

Is virtue piecemeal

?

we

feel

sir,

to

This

is

a jewel amidst the rags of a beggar.

In another way the right In the midst of abuses,

will

be vindicated.

of

in the heart

cities, in

the aisles of false churches, alike in one place

and

in another,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; wherever, namely,

a just

there

do what

heroic soul finds

itself,

it

will

and is

next at hand, and by the new quality of character

it

shall

put forth

it

shall abrogate that

old condition, law, or school in which before the law of

its

If partiality was one fault of the party,

it

stands,

own mind.

the other defect was

movement

their reliance

on

Doubts such as those I have inmany good persons to agitate the questions of social reform. But the revolt against the spirit of commerce, the spirit of aristocracy, and the inveterate abuses of cities, did not appear possible to individuals and to do battle against numbers they armed themselves

Association.

timated drove

;

with numbers, and against concert they relied

on new

concert.

Following or advancing beyond the ideas of


264

NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

Simon, of Fourier, and of Owen, three communities have already been formed in MassaSt.

*

chusetts on kindred plans, and the country at large.

member

They aim

many more

in

to give every

manual labor, to give an labor and to talent, and to unite

a share in the

equal reward to

a liberal culture with an education to labor.

The

scheme offers,., by the economies of associated labor and expense, to make every member rich, on the same amount of property that, in separate families, would leave every member poor. These new associations are composed of men and women of superior talents and sentiments yet it may easily be questioned whether such a com;

munity will draw, except in its beginnings, the able and the good; whether those who have energy will not prefer their chance of superiority

and power ties

in the world, to the

of the association

;

humble

whether such a

certainretreat

does not promise to become an asylum to those

who have

and failed, rather than a field to the strong and whether the members will not necessarily be fractions of men, because each finds that he cannot enter it without some comtried ;

promise.*

Friendship and association are very

and a grand phalanx of the best of the human race, banded for some catholic fine things,


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS object

;

yes, excellent

but remember that no

;

society can ever be so large as one his

265

He, in momentary

man.

friendship, in his natural and

associations, doubles or multiplies himself; but in the

hour

in

which he mortgages himself to

two or ten or twenty, he dwarfs himself below the stature of one.

But the men of less faith could not thus believe, and to such, concert appears the sole specific of strength. I have failed, and you have failed, but perhaps together we shall not fail.

Our housekeeping

is

not satisfactory to us, but

perhaps a phalanx, a community, might be.

Many

of us have differed

man who

could find no

in opinion,

make

cOuld

and we

the truth

plain, but possibly a college, or an ecclesiastical

council, might.

persuade

my

disuse the

I

have not been able either to

brother or to prevail on myself to

traffic

or the potation of brandy, but

perhaps a pledge of total abstinence might tually restrain us. for

is

The

candidate

effec-

my party votes

not to be trusted with a dollar, but he will

be honest in the Senate, for we can bring public opinion to bear on him. Thus concert was the specific in all cases.

ter

But concert

nor worse, neither more nor

individual force.

All the

men

is

neither bet-

less potent,

in the

than

world can-


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

266

not

make

a statue

walk and speak, cannot make

a drop of blood, or a blade of grass, any more than one man can. But let there be one man, let there be truth in two men, in ten men, then is

concert for the

force

time possible

first

which moves the world

;

a

is

because the

new

quality,

and can never be furnished by adding whatever

What

quantities of a different kind.

is

the use

and the disunited ? There can be no concert in two, where there When the individual is is no concert in one. of the concert of the

false

not individual, but

dual

look one way and faith is traversed

is

by

when

his thoughts

another

habits

his

;

;

when

when

his

his will,

warped by his sense when with one hand he rows and with the other backs water, what concert can be ? I do not wonder at the interest these projects inspire. The world is awaking to the idea of union, and these experiments show what it enlightened by reason,

â&#x20AC;˘

;

his actions

is

thinking

of.

It

is

and

is

will

be magic.

Men

and communicate, and plough, and reap, and govern, as by added ethereal power, when

will live

once they are united

;

as in a celebrated experi-

ment, by expiration and respiration exactly

to-

man from

the

gether, four persons

ground by the

lift

little

a heavy

finger only,

and without


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS sense of weight.

But

this

267

union must be

ward, and not one of covenants, and

is

in-

to be

reached by a reverse of the methods they use.

The union are isolated.

only perfect when

is

It is the

all

the uniters

union of friends who

in different streets or towns.

Each man, is on all

if

attempts to join himself to others,

cramped and diminished of

live

he

sides

and the stricter the union the smaller and the more pitiful he is. But leave him alone, to recognize in every hour and place the secret soul he will go up and down doing the works of a true member, and, to the astonishment of all, the work will be done with concert, though no man spoke. Government will be adamantine without any governor. The union must be ideal in actual his

proportion

;

;

individualism.' I

pass to the indication in

some

particulars

man, which the heart is preaching to us in these days, and which engages the more regard, from the consideration that the speculaof that

faith in

tions of

one generation are the history of the

next following.

In alluding just cation, I

But of

it is

its

now

to

our system of edu-

spoke of the deadness of its details. open to graver criticism than the palsy

members

:

it is

a system of despair.

The


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

268

human mind now

disease with which the is

Men do

want of faith.

of education.

We

labors

not believe in a power

do not think we can speak man, and we do not try.

to divine sentiments in

We

renounce

the defects of so frivolous people ganic,

high aims.

all

We

believe that

many perverse and so many who make up society, are or-

and society

is

a hospital of incurables.

man of good sense but

of

passion seemed to lead

he went there, said to

little faith,

him

me

A

whose com-

to church as often as

that " he liked to have

and fairs, and churches, and other pubamusements go on." I am afraid the remark is too honest, and comes from the same origin as the maxim of the tyrant, " If you would rule the world quietly, you must keep it amused." I notice too that the ground on which eminent

concerts, lic

public servants urge the claims of popular education

is

fear; 'This country

is filling

up

with

thousands and millions of voters, and you must educate them to keep them from our

throats.'

We

do not believe that any education, any system of philosophy, any influence of genius, will ever give depth of insight to a superficial mind.

Having skill is

settled ourselves into this infidelity, our

expended to procure alleviations, diverWe adorn the victim with manual

sion, opiates.


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS tongue with languages,

skill, his

cunningly hid inner death

the

body with

his

inoffensive and comely manners.

269

So have we

tragedy of limitation and

we cannot

avert.

Is

it

strange that

society should be devoured by a secret melan-

choly which breaks through

all its

smiles and

gayety and games? But even one step farther our infidelity has gone. It appears that some doubt is felt by good and wise men whether really the happiness and probity of men is increased by the culture

all its

of the mind in those disciplines to which we give the

name of education. Unhappily

too the

doubt comes from scholars, from persons who have tried these methods. In their experience the scholar was not raised by the sacred thoughts

amongst which he dwelt, but used them to selfHe was a profane person, and became a showman, turning his gifts to a marketable use, and not to his own sustenance and growth.' It was found that the intellect could be ish ends.

independently developed, that

from the man,

as

is,

in separation

any single organ can be invig-

orated, and the result was monstrous.

A

canine

knowledge was generated, which must still be fed but was never satisfied, and this knowledge, not being directed on action, never appetite for


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

270

took the character of substantial, humane blessing those

whom

it

entered.

It

truth,

gave the

scholar certain powers of expression, the power

of speech, the power of poetry, of

but

it

him

did not bring

literary art,

to peace or to benefi-

cence.

When of

the literary class betray a destitution

not strange that society should be

faith, it is

What

disheartened and sensualized by unbelief.

must be lived on a higher plane. remedy ? We must go up to a higher platform, to which Life

we are always

invited to ascend

aspect of things changes.

there, the whole

;

I resist

the scepticism

of our education and of our educated men.

I

do

not believe that the differences of opinion and

men

character in

nize, beside the class

a

permanent

do not recogof the good and the wise,

are organic.

I

of sceptics, or a

class

of con-

class

servatives, or of malignants, or of materialists. classes. You remember woman who importuned King Philip of Macedon to grant her justice, which Philip refused the woman exclaimed, I

do not believe

in

two

the story of the poor

:

"

I

appeal

:

Philip suit

me

king, astonished, asked

" the

whom she appealed drunk

to

very well.

:

the

woman

Philip sober." I believe

replied, "

The

to

From

text will

not in two

classes


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS of men, but in

man

drunk and Philip the good-hearted

the soul

in

two moods,

sober.

I think,

word of

or thief, no

man

is

necessity which he tolerates

pidity of sight.

The

Philip

according to

Plato, " Unwillingly

deprived of truth."

is

tive, miser,

in

271

Iron conserva-

but by a supposed

by shortness or torman go with-

soul lets no

out some visitations and holydays of a diviner

would be easy to show, by a narrow scanning of any man's biography, that we are not so wedded to our paltry performances of presence.

It

every kind but that every

man

has at intervals

the grace to scorn his performances, in com-

paring them with his belief of what he should

do;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

that he puts

himself on the side of his

enemies, listening gladly to what they say of

him, and accusing himself of the same things.

What is

it

men love

hope, which degrades all its

never executed.

the Doric column, the minster, the

?

Genius Its

own

The Iliad, the Hamlet, Roman arch, the Gothic

German anthem, when they

ended, the master casts behind him. the song in the waves of verse pours over his soul Infinite out

its infinite

has done

miracles poor and short.

counts idea

it

in Genius, but all it

are

How sinks

melody which the uni!

Before that gracious

of which he drew these few strokes,


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

272

how mean

they look, though the praises of the

From

the triumphs of his

he turns with desire to

this greater defeat.

world attend them. art

Let those admire who

With

will.

silent joy

he sees himself to be capable of a beauty that eclipses all

which

his

human hands have Well, we are

all

children of virtue, in

hands have done

our happier hours.

when they

all

which

the children of genius, the

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

feel their inspirations

Is not every

times a radical in politics atives

;

ever done.'

Men

?

man some-

are conserv-

when

are least vigorous, or

they are most luxurious.

They

are conserva-

tives after dinner, or before taking their rest;

when they are or when their been aroused

;

sick, or aged.

In the morning,

intellect or their conscience has

when they

hear music, or when

they read poetry, they are radicals.

of

In the

circle

the rankest tories that could be collected in

England, Old or New, ulating intellect, a act

man

powerful and stim-

let a

of great heart and mind

on them, and very quickly these frozen con-

servators will yield to the friendly influence,

these hopeless will begin to hope, these haters will

begin to love, these immovable statues

begin to spin and revolve.

I

ing the fine anecdote which

cannot help

Warton

will

recall-

relates of


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

273

Bishop Berkeley, when he was preparing to

England with his plan of planting the gospel among the American savages. " Lord Bathurst told me that the members of the Scriblerus Club being met at his house at dinner, they leave

agreed to rally Berkeley,

on

his

scheme

listened to the say,

begged

at

who was

Bermudas.

many

also his guest,

Berkeley, having

lively things they

to be heard in his turn,

had to

and

dis-

played his plan with such an astonishing and

animating force of eloquence and enthusiasm that they were struck

up

pause, rose

all

dumb, and,

after

some

together with earnestness,

exclaiming, ' Let us set out with him immediMen in all ways are better than they ately.' "

They like flattery for the moment, but know the truth for their own. It is a fool-

seem. they

ish cowardice

which keeps us from trusting them

and speaking to them rude truth. They resent your honesty for an instant, they will thank

you

for

it

always.

of each other

?

Is

it

What

is it

we

to be pleased

heartily wish

and

flattered?

but to be convicted and exposed, to be

No, shamed out of our nonsense of

made men

We

all

kinds, and

of, instead of ghosts and phantoms.'

are weary of gliding ghostlike through the

world, which

is

itself so slight

and unreal.

We


NEW. ENGLAND REFORMERS

274

crave a sense of reality, though strokes of pain. like love

into

I

of truth,

explain so,

— those

it

— by

comes this

in

man-

excesses and errors

which souls of great vigor, but not equal

insight, often

bottom of

all

They know

They

fall.

feel the

poverty

at the

the seeming affluence of the world. the speed with which they

come

through the thin masquerade, and con-

straight

ceive a disgust at the indigence of nature

:

Rousseau, Mirabeau, Charles Fox, Napoleon,

Byron,

— and

I

home, of raging

could easily add names nearer riders,

who

drive their steeds

so hard, in the violence of living to forget illusion

:

know the worst, and tread The heroes of ancient and

they would

the floors of

hell.^

modern fame, Cimon, Themistocles, Alexander, Caesar, have treated as a

its

game

to be well

and

life

Alcibiades,

and fortune

skilfully played, but

the stake not to be so valued but that any time it

could be held as a

thrown up.

trifle

light

as air, and

Caesar, just before the battle of

Pharsalia, discourses with the Egyptian priest

concerning the fountains of the Nile, and to quit the army, the empire,

he

will

offers

and Cleopatra,

show him those mysterious

The same magnanimity shows social relations, in the preference,

if

sources.' itself in

our

namely, which


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS each

man

275

gives to the society of superiors over

that of his equals.

man

All that a

has will he

give for right relations with his mates. All that

he has will he give for an erect demeanor in

He

every company and on each occasion. at

such things

his

good

men's sight

eminent of

neighbors prize, and gives

as his

days and nights,

to strike a

mark

as a

aims

and

his talents

his heart,

stroke, to acquit himself in

man

of a noted merchant, of a

citizen,

all

man. The consideration of an

in his profession

;

a naval and mili-

tary honor, a general's commission, a marshal's

baton, a ducal coronet, the laurel of poets, and,

anyhow procured, the acknowledgment of eminent merit,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; have

unashamed before

in

whom

him

walk

to

the presence of

he

felt

each candi-

this lustre for

date that they enable

and

erect

some persons Having

himself inferior.

raised himself to this rank, having established his equality with class after class of those with

whom

he would live well, he

others before

whom

still

finds certain

he cannot possess himself,

somewhat grander, somewhat purer, which extorts homage because they have somewhat

of him.

Is his ambition

fairer,

pure

?

then

will

laurels and his possessions seem worthless

stead of avoiding these

men who make

:

his

in-

his fine


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

276

gold dim, he

behind him and seek

will cast all

their society only,

woo and embrace

this his hu-

miliation and mortification, until he shall

why

his

eye sinks, his voice

brilliant talents are

He

is

husky, and

not mislead him.

His

none.

tell

his

paralyzed in this presence.

sure that the soul which gives the

things will

all

is

know

If

cannot carry

it

to

lie

constitution will itself as

it

ought, high and unmatchable in the presence

of any

man

;

if

the secret oracles whose whisper

makes the sweetness and dignity of his here withdraw and accompany him no

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

it is

life

do

longer,

time to undervalue what he has valued,

to dispossess himself of

what he has acquired,

and with Caesar to take

in his

hand the army,

the empire and Cleopatra, and say, " All these

you will show me the fountains of the Nile." Dear to us are those who love us the swift moments we spend with them will I relinquish, if

;

are a compensation for a great deal of misery

they enlarge our

life

;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but

dearer are those

who

reject

life:

they build a heaven before us whereof we

us as unworthy, for they add another

had not dreamed, and thereby supply to us new powers out of the recesses of the spirit, and urge us to new and unattempted performances.'

As every man

at heart

wishes the best and


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

277

not inferior society, wishes to be convicted of his error

and

come

to

to

himself,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

so he wishes

same healing should not stop

that the

in his

thought, but should penetrate his will or active

The

power.

man

suffers

from

whom

selfish

selfishness than he

more from

that selfishness

withholds some important benefit.

most wishes

What

he

some higher platbeyond his present fear

to be lifted to

is

may

form, that he

his

see

the transalpine good, so that his fear, his coldness, his

ments of

custom may be broken up like frag-ice, melted and carried away in the

great stream of I also

good

will.

Do you

wish to be a benefactor.

ask

my

aid?

wish more to

I

be a benefactor and servant than you wish to be served by

me and

surely the greatest

;

tune that could befall

moved by you all

that

mine, and use

ends

r

I

me

is

should say,

me and mine

for I could not say

good

for-

precisely to be so

it

'

Take me and freely to

your

otherwise than

because a great enlargement had come to heart and mind, which made me superior to fortunes.'

Here we

hold on to our office

little

and money,

are paralyzed with fear

properties, house

for the bread

we

and land,

which they have

in our experience yielded us, although fess that

;

my my

we

con-

our being does not flow through them.


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

278

We

made

desire to be

touched with that

O

great

which

we

;

desire to be

command

shall

and make our existence

ice to stream,

we

If therefore

fire

start objections to

this

a benefit.

your

project,

friend of the slave, or friend of the poor or

of the race, understand well that

we wish

to drive

measures.

We

you

We wish

to

it

is

because

drive us into your

to hear ourselves confuted.

you have a would highliest advantage us to learn, and we would force you to impart it to us, though it should bring us to prison or to worse are haunted with a belief that

secret

which

it

extremity.

Nothing every lie,

man

shall is

warp

me from

a lover of truth.

no pure malignity

belief that

th_e

There

in nature.

is

The

no pure

entertain-

ment of the proposition of depravity is the last profligacy and profanation. There is no scepticism, no atheism but that. Could it be received into common belief, suicide would unpeople the planet. It has had a name to live in some dogmatic theology, but each man's innocence and his

real

dead

liking of his neighbor have kept

letter.

I

remember standing

one day when the anger of the

it

a

at the polls

political contest

gave a certain grimness to the faces of the inde-

pendent

electors,

and

a

good man

at

my

side,


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS looking on the people, remarked, " fied that the largest part side,

mean

looking

their blameless

and

of persons

masses of

refuses his assent to

men

in

their equivocal actions,

purpose

The

is fidelity.

satis-

suppose consider-

I

spite of selfishness

will assent, that in

volity, the general

'

at the

in

am

of these men, on either

to vote right."

ate observers,

I

279

in the great

is

in

fri-

number

why any one

reason

your opinion, or

your benevolent design,

and

you

:

his aid to

he refuses

you as a bringer of truth, because though you think you have it, he feels that you have it not. You have not given him the to

accept

authentic sign.

If

it

were worth while to run into

details this

general doctrine of the latent but ever soliciting Spirit, it

would be easy

particulars of a

adduce

to

illustration in

man's equality to the Church,

of his equality to the State, and of his equality to every other

man.

It

is

yet in

all

men's

mem-

ory that, a few years ago, the liberal churches

complained that the Calvinistic church denied I think the to them the name of Christian. complaint was confession

would not complain.

A

:

a

religious

religious

church

man,

like

Behmen, Fox, or Swedenborg, is not irritated by wanting the sanction of the Church, but


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

28o

the Church feels the accusation of his presence

and It

our

belief.

man

only needs that a just

make

streets to

inartificial a

man whose

part

how

appear

it

contrivance

is

our

should walk

who

taken and

is

pitiful

legislation.

in

and

The

does not

wait for society in anything, has a power which society cannot choose but feel.'

The

familiar

experiment called the hydrostatic paradox,

in

which a capillary column of water balances the ocean,

is

a

symbol of the

relation of

the whole family of men.

The

one man

to

wise Dandamis,

on hearing the lives of Socrates, Pythagoras and Diogenes read, "judged them to be great men every way, excepting that they were too much subjected to the reverence of the laws, which to

second and authorize, true virtue must abate

much of its original vigor." * And as a man is equal to the Church and

very

equal to the State, so he other man.

The

are superficial

;

disparities

and

all

versation, in which a

is

equal to every

of power

in

men

frank and searching con-

man

lays himself

open

to

his brother, apprises each of their radical unity.

When

two persons

sit

and converse

in a thor-

oughly good understanding, the remark to be

is

sure

made. See how we have disputed about


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS words every

!

Let a

it

as

apprehensive mind, such as

clear,

man knows among

with the most

his friends, converse

commanding poetic genius, I think

would appear

men

281

that there was no inequality such

fancy, between

them

;

that a perfect un-

derstanding, a like receiving, a like perceiving,

and the poet would confess that his creative imagination gave him no deep advantage, but only the superficial one that abolished differences

;

he could express himself and the other could that his advantage was a knack, which might impose on indolent men but could not

not

;

impose on lovers of truth for they know the tax of talent, or what a price of greatness the ;

power of expression too often pays. is

the conviction of the purest

men

I

believe

it

that the net

amount of man and man does not much vary. Each is incomparably superior to his companion in some faculty. His want of skill in other directions has added to his fitness for his own work. Each seems to have some compensation yielded to him by his infirmity, and every hinderance operates as a concentration of his force.'

These and the

man

stands in

like experiences intimate that

strict

connection with a higher fact

never yet manifested.

behind us, and we are

power over and the channels of its com-

There

is


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS munications. We seek to say thus and so, and 282

over our head some

what we this

to

We

say."

or that

;

That which we keep back,

holds uncontrollable communication

it

with the enemy, and he answers believes the spirit. tor in the house is

this

In vain we compose our faces and our

reveals.

words

fellow

another self within our eyes

;

dissuades him.

which contradicts

spirit sits

would persuade our

!

'

civilly to us, but

We exclaim,

'

but at

appears that he

the true man, and

last it

am the

I

channel to the highest

the

's

a trai-

This open

traitor.

life is

reality, so subtle, so quiet,

There

first

and

last

yet so tenacious, that

although

I

have never expressed the truth, and

although

I

have never heard the expression of

it is

from any other, here for me.

questions

?

I

know

I

What

am

if I

call

cannot answer your

not pained that

a reply to the question.

we

that the whole truth

Providence

?

What

There

the operation

lies

the unspoken

Every time we

thing, present, omnipresent.

converse we seek to translate

whether we but get

hit or

it

it

is

it

into speech, but

whether we miss, we have the

Every discourse

fact.

cannot frame

I

is

is

an approximate answer

of small consequence that we do not

into verbs

and nouns, whilst

contemplation forever.

it

abides for


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

283

If the auguries of the prophesying heart shall

make themselves good

man who men and events prepare and foreshow, is one who shall enjoy his connection with a higher life, with the man within man shall destroy distrust by his trust, shall in time, the

be born, whose advent

shall

;

use his native but forgotten methods, shall not take counsel of flesh and blood, but shall rely

on the Law

alive

and beautiful which works over

our heads and under our

Pitiless,

feet.

it

avails

of our success when we obey it, and of our when we contravene it.' Men are all secret

itself

ruin

believers in

It,

no meaning true

;

justice

would have

they believe that the best

:

that right

come.

word

else the

is

done

at last

;

is

the

or chaos would

and 'Work,' it

It rewards actions after their nature,

not after the design of the agent. saith to

man,

'

in every hour, paid or unpaid, see

only that thou work, and thou canst not escape the reward

:

whether thy work be

fine or coarse,

planting corn or writing epics, so only est

it

be hon-

work, done to thine own approbation,

it

shall

earn a reward to the senses as well as to the

thought

:

no matter how often defeated, you

born to victory. done,

is

to have

As soon

as a

The done

man

are

reward of a thing well

it.'

is

wonted

to look

beyond


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS

284

and

surfaces,

how

to see

this

high will prevails

without an exception or an interval, he himself into serenity.

laws of gravity, that every stone will it is

due

;

the

settles

He can already rely on the

good globe

is

fall

and

faithful,

where carries

us securely through the celestial spaces, anxious or resigned,

and he

we need not

will learn

teach, that our

interfere to help

it

on

one day the mild lesson they

own

orbit

is all

our task, and we

need not assist the administration of the universe.

Do

not be so impatient to set the town right con-

cerning the unfounded pretensions and the reputation of certain

men

of standing.

false

They

are

laboring harder to set the town right concern-

ing themselves, and will certainly succeed.

Sup-

press for a few days your criticism on the insufficiency of this or that teacher or experimenter,

and he to

all

will

have demonstrated his insufficiency

men's

eyes.'

In like manner,

into the divine circuits,

fall

Obedience influence.

and

to his genius

We

is

and he

is

man

enlarged.

the only liberating

wish to escape from subjection

a sense of inferiority,

and we make

nying ordinances, we drink water, we

we

let a

refuse the laws,

we go to jail

:

self-de-

eat grass,

it is all

in vain

only by obedience to his genius, only by the freest activity in the

way

constitutional to him.


NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS does an angel seem to

arise before a

him by the hand out of

all

285

man and lead

the wards of the

prison.

That which

befits us,

and wonder as we are, age, and the endeavor

The it

is

of

life

man

is

is

embosomed

in

beauty

cheerfulness and cour-

to realize our aspirations.

the true romance, which

when

valiantly conducted will yield the imagina-

tion a higher joy than

any

fiction.

All around

us what powers are wrapped up under the coarse mattings of custom, and It is

man

all

can see without his eyes, that

occur to them that

it

he should see with them

-^

latter

wonders

wonders

at

what

at the usual.

is

and that

;

lives

?

May

it

does not

is

ever the

and the unwise the :

unusual, the wise

man

Shall not the heart which

has received so much, trust the it

it

just as wonderful that

is

difference between the wise -.-.-.

wonder prevented.

so wonderful to our neurologists that a

Power by which

not quit other leadings, and

listen to the Soul that has guided

it

so gently

and taught it so much, secure that the future will be worthy of the past ?


NOTES


NOTES THIS second book of Essays followed

the

by

first

a three

years' interval, allowing time for the rehearsal of the lec-

women more

in

country

critical,

men and

of them on assemblages of

tures, or rather the trial

villages,

and before more During

audiences in the city.

cultivated, if not

that time the matter

,was often rearranged and extended, and always severely pruned.

The book was

published

ton, in 1844.

The

&

by James Munroe

pipers of the time

received than either of its predecessors.

show

Co., of Bos-

that

it

was

better

The Rev. Dr. Hedge,

writing in the Christian Examiner, praising the Essays, though

some expressions with regard

troubled at

as to say that

they

'

were destined

'

went

to Jesus,

so far

coming

to carry far into

time their lofty cheer and spirit-stirring notes of courage and

hope.

' '

Chapman,

the English publisher, had written to

Emerson asking him which he would

to

Mr.

send some work not yet published, for

try to get

half profits to the author.

and maintain copyright, and So the book appeared

in

alloys^

America

and England about the same time. Carlyle wrote in Essays, as

Chapman probably

advertised yesterday,

accurate

November

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

'

" Your

English volume of

informs you by

this

Post,

with a Preface from me.' That

that latter clause.

certificate that the

:

Book

is

My

'

Preface

'

was

hardly

is

consists only of a

correctly printed, and sent forth

a Publisher of your appointment,

whom

of yours ought to regard accordingly.

by

all

readers

Nothing more.

There

therefore

proves, I believe, no visible real vestige of a copyright obtainable here.

me,

as all

...

I

will say already

of

it.

It

your other deUberate utterances are

is

;

a sermon to a real

word.


NOTES

290 which

noises, far

be such,

I feel to

such, in a world

which cannot

beyond any

'

we

For the

Speaker indeed, but

a

This

for words.

have to object

still

Law of Nature)

that

rest, I

as

it

were

a Soliloquizer on

the eternal mountain-tops only, in vast solitudes

and

their affairs

man and

only the

hushed

lie all

say,

terrible

'

Why won't

and vacant up there ;

sions, facts,

— which

ing and stammering

I

and

can afford one

ought

my

;

— whom,

could perpetually punch into,

like

transcend '

!

say,

man

us then

you down among us

We It

shall

To which '

do

is

have cold

life-pictures, pas-

thought, and leave

all

stutter-

it

he answers that he won't,

Cockneys have

to (as the

You Western Gymnosophist But

for that too.

to say, the sentences are

— — !

'

By

it); !

and

Well,

the bye,

very brief ; and did not,

sheet reading, always entirely cohere for me.

ine Saxon; strong

?

!

nothing paintable but rainbows and

want

can't, and doesn't

we

we

come down, and you

so I leave him,

where men

dim remoteness; and

you come and help

need of one man

emotions

in a very

the stars and the earth are visible,

so fine a fellow seems he,

and

a praise

is

one; literary praises are not worth

'

will call objecting against the

you

find

me

pass with

literary

repeating in comparison.

(what you

almost or altogether the one

alas,

of jargons,- hearsays, echoes, and vain

all full

and simple; of a

clearness, of a beauty

But they did not, sometimes, rightly

in

Pure genu-

to their foregoers

stick

their followers;

the paragraph not as a beaten ingot, but

as a beautifial square

bag of duck-shot held together by can-

and

vas!

I will try

me.

There

«

them

again, with the

are also one or

immortality,' and so forth,

here and there.

man

obeys

law."

his

I

do not say

own Dasmon

two

which it

Book

deliberately before

utterances about 'Jesus,' will

produce wide-eyes

was wrong

to utter

them;

a

in these cases as his supreme


NOTES

291

In Mr. Emerson's answer, freely acknowledging himself to

be a poor transmitter of intelligence of his

"middle

audience of

celestial

countrymen class

by such discourses was

"

law, his

and

faith in the ideals

at large shines

An

conspicuous.

hearers being attracted and held

a thing incomprehensible to his English

friends.

December,

My all

knowledge of the

but sufficient to hinder

i

844.

defects of these things I write

me

from writing

I

at all.

am

is

only

a sort of lieutenant here in a deplorable absence of captains,

and write the laws

and

as

ill

thinking

made by I

can

at

though

life,

my

my

me

I hear substantially the

And

though

I

As

much

so

to his

to

call

wrote to a friend:

"

I

am

just

my

a stated task

ideal right,

intrusion

loss

of virtue

in

If that

it

of

sure to feel, be-

it

is

into another

my own.

speak on his favorite themes, he earlier

announcing

solitudes,

my new ,

course of lectures [the so far does the thirst

and the need sometimes

— add even some

necessity to speak

am

what an

matter later included in this volume] publishing

criticism

means.

sometimes accept a

it,

have done with

and

it

and preach on Temperance or the Abolition of

Slavery, as lately on the ist of August, I

sphere,

same

without measuring the divergence from

the last act of Congress.

fore I

now and

writing and think-

any time express the law and the

call,

of the dignities

countrymen, I do not know what

should satisfy

popular

little

But of what you say

duties of country lyceums.

heretofore respecting the remoteness of

ing from real

homage than

a better

it

You Londoners know

universal silence.

what one

of

by me of

small degree of superstition of a

fancies

with other reasons, drive me."

felt

people ought to hear


NOTES

292

Readers of the Essays should bear in mind that most of

them were spoken man

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

so the speaker held

The

man.

ta

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

thoughts were received

reported as truly as he could,

but what labor was spent on the form was in presenting them

and strongly in the

clearly

plain English

which

is

the language

of the best poetry, and in illustrating them by anecdotes from the past and analogies of daily

In the chapter

"Emerson

life

and from advancing

admirable Remembrances of Emerson, lecturer, his

method and

is

a

science.

Mr. John

Essayist," in

as

Albee's

good account of the

his audience.

THE POET The

poet in Emerson was in these years struggling through

impediment

Nature has been

to expression.

In

rhapsody than an essay.

his

solitary

called

more of

a

walks by day and

night, he listened for the song of the pine-tree and the music

of the

dow

stars,

and he placed an ^olian harp

while he wrote.

history, science

was the poetic

It

and divinity

in his study

that interested him.

harmonies of the Universe, he naturally longed

His note-books

in poetry, the fitting form. are full of trials to

do

so,

and several of

win-

side of philosophy,

his

Seeing the

to

show them

at

this

period

poems had

al-

He had given another lecture, "The Conservative" and "The

ready appeared in the Dial.

"The

Poet," between

Transcendentalist

"

Only

a

1841-42. sent lecture,

Letters

and

a

in the course in

few more

and Social Aims.

these notes,

Boston in the winter of

few paragraphs of in

"

this

appear in the pre-

Poetry and Imagination

But in a poem often referred

which Mr. Emerson never

finished, so

it

"

in

to in

was

only printed in the Appendix to the collection of his verse, the


NOTES

293

same thoughts and high estimate of

the ofEce of the Poet ap-

pear that occur in the published and unpublished essays on this

theme.

The form

first

it is

motto

is

taken from this poem, where in improved

found in the

But oh,

of the

latter lines

first

The

to see his solar eyes

Like meteors which chose their

And

part:

rived the dark like a

second motto

new

taken from the

is

way day,

" Ode

etc.

to

Beauty."

Page 4, note I. In "Literary Ethics" in Nature, Adand Lectures, early in its second division, is an inter-

dresses

esting passage

showing how Emerson, when he came from

his studies in classic

and undescribed:

poetry to the wild woods, found

" "

Further inquiry will discover

knew anything commended," etc.

not these chanting poets themselves these

handsome natures they

Page 4,

note 2.

so

sense of nature

is

You

inexhaustible.

this

is

a

new

thought, and lo!

all it

Poet,"

"The

*

Page 4,

Guess again.' note j.

the universal

that Fire

is

.

.

.

The

'T was

the moral of the

river, the rock

and the

" doctrine of the

— imaged

immanence of

in the doctrine

spirit

of Heracleitus

the ultimate ground of the world.

Page 6, note lecture

The

mind

know the you come into

think you

nature converts itself into a symbol

rock and the ocean.

ocean say

that

has been chanting that song like a

cricket ever since the creation. river, the

.

"The

meaning of these tropes of nature, and to-day

of that, and you see

.

sincere of

passage:

In the unpublished lecture

alluded to in the introductory note,

" all new .

"The

I.

This whole paragraph

Poet." Adopting

is

from the

eariier

the not altogether pleasing


NOTES

294

phraseology of the old physicians in their division of temper-

aments, he speaks of excess of phlegm as a safeguard (an

image which he used again

Nature"

Poems, Appendix),

in the

" Fragments

on

Dr. Holmes used

to

of the

in the first

as

speak of the nine parts of nitrogen being a diluent essential,

of the one of the

He,

Thanked Nature

On

his tense

The

He

Page

is

talist

'

all

.

felt.

Poet," Poems, Appendix.

Men Mr. Emerson " and in this

balanced soul was born

;

poems " The Test " and " The Solution" In the

note j.

essays this Trinity

is

class last

spoken

The

P'^&f 7> note 2. is

were

strokes

In Representative

" The

" The

Transcendenin

many

other

of.

poet's pursuit of the universal Pro-

told of in the

to the essay of that

of Poets.

pages of

and Lectures, and

in Nature, Addresses

tean beauty

.

.

each stroke she dealt;

chords

counted in the highest

'

breathe.

asked, he only asked, to feel.

6, note 2.

Page 7,

we

good, the bad, with equal zeal.

essay and in the

he

that

foolish child,

for

"The

says of Plato,

oxygen

fiery stimulant,

Poems

name, and

"

in

in the

Beauty," the motto

first

of the

"

Fragments

on the Poetic Gift."

Page 8,

note i.

Song breathed from

The It

total air

all

the forest.

was fame

seemed the world was

;

all

That suddenly caught the

" May Morning,"

torches flame.

Poems, Appendix.


NOTES Page 8,

29s

note 2.

Ever the words of the gods resound

;

But the porches of man's ear

Seldom

low

in this

Are unsealed,

round

life's

that he

may

"My The

""tf !•

P^S' 9i son,

who had

not

come

allusion here

hear.

Garden," Poems.

is

probably to

to his foil strength

Emerson's unseen friend and correspondent

who

Sterling,

of music

to

In a

" What

my

of me and

the

and exhibitions, and certain poems,

few sounding sentences and

fools a

mates

Mr. Emerson spoke of

letter

thought in young scholars, and referring

to the college declamations said,.

Mr.

England, John

in

died the year these essays were published.

Page 10, note i. priority

;

Tenny-

possibly to

" To

!

his children

made

verses

he often quoted these

with amused affection.

Page II,

" meant

Dr. Holmes quotes

note i.

for the initiated, rather than for

"Does

read," and thus comments: travagant

What were

.?

Hebrews

this

sentence as one

him who runs,

to

sound wild and ex-

downs of

the political ups and

what were the squabbles of

?

this

the

the tribes with each

other or with their neighbors compared to the birth of that

poet to voice

whom we owe

is still

mankind

?

' '

says,

all

men

of

the sweet singer

that ever sang to

Mr. Emerson looked

and saw mainly the masses.

the Psalms,

the dearest of

faith

whose

the heart of

along the heights of history

and

insight

who moved

In the unpublished lecture on the Poet referred

"A

man

the

to

he

apparently foolish and helpless, with nothing

magnetic in him, in the legislature,

who

is

a churl in the

drawing-room, an

idiot

hides himself in his garret from the pride

and pity of men, and writes

a

poem which

.

.

.

is

at first


NOTES

296 then kissed,

neglected,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

it

pushes

changes the course of

their thrones,

potentates from

all

few years, and

affairs in a

memory of that transient state of things under which he suffered when he existed." On the reverse actually wipes out the

of the sheet he noted a

wider sense,

as they

had such influence

list

came

of names of some

Plato,

:

mind,

to

who

Aristophanes,

de Lisle, Rousseau, Machiavel, Voltaire, Luther, Rabelais,

Page Jj,

common

."

Poets," in the

have in

their degree

Rouget

Tyrtaeus,

Tom

Paine, Swift,

Mahomet, Mirabeau. His steady behef was

note I.

by

teaching and poetry was affirmative, and

was

that thought

property, and not to be defended, and that its

all

good

made

merit

denials unnecessary.

Page zj, tury B. clus.

He

who

lived in the fourth cen-

pupD of Porphyry and

the

the teacher of Pro-

wrote on the Egyptian mysteries;

Mr. Emerson,

of Pythagoras.

" Books "

in Society

In a

and

"He

saying of him,

genius."

Jamblichus,

note 2.

c, was

Solitude, quotes the

was

letter in

also

him

alluding to

in

the

Life

the essay

Emperor Julian's

Plato in time, not in

posterior to

1842 he mentions

that

he

is

reading

Jamblichus' s Life of Pythagoras.

Page 14,

note j.

From An Hymne

note 2.

Writing to Miss Elizabeth Hoar from

in

Honour ofBeautie,

Stanza xix.

Page 14,

Nantasket Beach in July, 1841, and after speaking

of

his delight in Plato's

Banquet, he adds,

Thomas

"I

Taylor's

have

also three

Translations,

telling

of his reading,

Phadrus, Meno and volumes

Proclus,

new

Ocellus

to

me

the

of

Lucanus,

and Pythagorean Fragments."

Page 16, drivers

note i.

and stable-men

Mr. Emerson that drove

liked

him on

to

talk

with stage-

New England roads,

or across Illinois prairie, to his lectures, and enjoyed their racy


NOTES

297

On

vernacular and picturesque brag.

his

walks he

fell

in with

pot-hunters and fishermen, wood-choppers and drovers, and

hked as if

exchange

to

man

every

Page 16,

"The

my

master," he

This part of the essay

note 2.

"

few words with them.

a

met was

I

Poet," which was written soon

always

I

felt

said.

from the lecture

is

of

after the election

Harrison to the Presidency.

"The

Journal, 1840.

simplest things are always better

The most

than curiosities.

imposing part of

Harrison

this

celebration of the Fourth of July in Concord, as in Baltimore,

was it

twelve or thirteen feet in diameter, which, as

this ball,

mounts the

and

heights

little

draws

slopes of the road,

all

eyes with a certain sublime movement, especially as the imagination

is

incessantly addressed with

So the Log Cabin

Page 18, note

"

is

a lucky

This

i.

its

pohtical significance.'

watchword."

recalls the last lines

of the

httle

poem

Limits," printed in the Appendix to the Poems, in which

man's ignorance of animal hfe and in the

"

end of

speaking of the

History

"

feeling

Mr. Emerson

rat,

is

spoken of (as also

in Essays, First Series').

says,

There,

His wicked eye thy cruelty.

Is cruel to

Page ig,

note i.

In

"A

Letter" written

— when Concord, —

the publication of these essays,

was

his

Natural History of

way, makes the say,

when

" Keep the

best of

— Hke

we must hunting, I

in the

just finished to

printed in

its

time of

Dial

Intellect,

(vol. iv.), also

Mr. Emerson,

coming, thus:

" To

ball a-rolling

was coming,

was the

'

after

the railway

the courageous lord-mayor at his

told the hare

pecanoe and Tyler too."

at the

the Fitchburg Railroad

Let

it

first

come

in

campaign watchword, with " Tip-


NOTES

298 Heaven's name,

I

am

not afraid on

't,'

unlooked-for social and political effects

Page 21,

Much of this

note i.

earher lecture of the same

"Woodnotes," lor said, giving

that stars,

it

should be read with

the Poems, written about the

II., in

Mr. Emerson's

It also suggests

time.

speaks of the

appearing.

fast

paragraph came from the

and

title,

" and

same

Thomas Tay-

reading.

"the substance of Porphyry's LifeofPlotinus," the canons concerning the

Plotinus applied himself to

but not according to a very mathematical mode,

like the

calculation of eclipses or measuring the distance from the sun

" For

to the earth, etc.

kind

as

more

found and

he considered employment of

The

intellectual philosopher.

mathematical sciences

are indeed the proper means of acquiring

ought never as

it

to

be considered

as its

were, between sense and

safely pass through the night

stormy ocean of matter world.

And

this

the province of the mathematician than the pro-

he

who

is

end.

intellect

wisdom, but they

They

are the bridge,

by which we may

of oblivion over the dark and

to the lucid regions

of the

intelligible

desirous of returning to his true coun-

try will speedily pass over this bridge without

making any

needless delays in his passage."

Page 22, note i. this essay,

it is

The

said

In the opening of the poem of the Poet:

things

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

whereon he

Could not the nations

" Language"

with

cast his eyes

re-baptize.

Nor Time's snows hide the names he Nor last posterity forget. In the chapter

parallel

in

set.

Nature, these thoughts of

the origins of words are developed.

Page 22, note 2.

The

Page 23,

In

note i.

Evolution concisely stated.

his collection

of

" Fragments

of Pin-


NOTES dar

"

the

in

quoted

299

"

passage from ^lius Aristides:

this

Mr. Thoreau

Dial, published this same year,

Pindar used such

exaggeration [in praise of poetry] as to say that even the gods

themselves, v(rhen, at his marriage, Zeus asked them if they

wanted anything,

who

'

asked him to

with speech and song.'

Page 24, on

make

certain gods for

should celebrate these great works and

note i.

Manse,

"

For

a

poem

written in Emerson's youth

seen by him from the

sunrise

a

them

creation

his

all

his grandfather's house, see

Old

opposite the.

hill

" Fragments

on Nature

"

in the Poems.

Page 2§, note i.

The gods talk in They talk in the

the breath of the woods.

shaken pine,

"The Page 26,

note i.

Thee,

gliding through the sea of form.

" Ode Page 28, note only

Good

etc.

Poet," Poems, Appendix.

in the

j.

It

was

his

Beauty," Poems.

to

consolation that

"

Evil

was

making."

Page 2g, note i. " He who sings the holy decrees of and pious heroes and the heaven of Jove, let him live

the gods

sparely, let herbs be his harmless food, a

and

beechen cup give him a sober draught.

chaste less.

and So

cated to

free

lived

the

from

sin, his

morals rigid and

Orpheus and Homer. gods and

their

water from

his

his

youth be

name

For the poet '

is

clear

Let

priest.

'

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Milton,

is

stain-

dedi-

Elegia

Sexta, lines 55-78, translated.

Page JO,

note i.

Since the poet sees the permanent truth

symbolized by each transient appearance,

this

is

another ver-


NOTES

300 sion of the

word of

" The

the Evangelist,

truth shall

make

you free."

Page jl,

These

note i.

come from

lines

the Dedication

of Chapman's Homer.

Page 31, note 2. This passage from " The Wif of Bathe's Tale " was a favorite of Mr. Emerson's :

Take

And

and here

fire,

Betwix

this

Yet wol the

As twenty

:

shette the dores fire as faire lie

office naturel

Up

peril

of my i.

ay wol

lif,

puts

til

Always

That book

Which

hous

me

and go thenne.

and brenne

men might

tjiousand

His

Page J2, note wrote

to the derkest

it

and the Mount of Caucasus,

men

let

that

it

behold

hold. it

die.

eclectic

in

reading,

his

he

good

is

in a

it

working mood.

Unless to thought be added will, Apollo

" P^gi:

33 >

an imbecile.

is

Fragments on the Poet," Poems, Appendix.

"ot^ I-

The

heavens that

With

Once

He

now draw him

sweetness untold.

found,

for

new

heavens

spurneth the old.

"The

Sphinx," Poems.

Much to this purpose is in the earlier lecture on ' The Poet, " Swedenborg had this vice, that he nailed one sense to And he speaks there of each image, one and no more. '

as,

'

'


NOTES the face of Nature to exist that

say of

man

a

day

"

as

serve

he

grass, that

that

is

.

these

in our ears, hearing

them,

fire,

others,

.

;

.

man with he

names as

we

is

moment

a stream,

.

man Puppy

.

.

We

a star, a lion,

are comparatively unaffecting

do, merely caught by ear from

was

or Ass

who

and saw

a poet,

first

at

the

the identity of nature through the great difference of

...

he could hear him bark or bray with

necessity under the false clothing of

Page J4, in his

a language.

and spoken without thought, but the man

called another

aspect,

sympathetic cipher or alphabet, and

a

may

it

301

Perhaps the answer to

note i.

a bestial

man."

" The Problem "

Poems.

Page 3J,

note i.

All the forms are

fiigitive.

But the substances ÂŤ'

Page jg,

survive.

Woodnotes,"

II., Poems.

note i.

One who

having nectar drank

Into blissful orgies sank;

He He He

takes

no mark of night or day.

cannot go, he cannot stay.

would, yet would not, counsel keep.

But,

like a

With

walker in

Ridiculously up and

Seeks

The

how

he may

Page 42,

down fitly tell

heart-o'erlading miracle.

" The

sage:

his sleep

staring eye that seeth none.

note I.

Compare

Poet," Poems, Appendix. in

"The

Poet"

the pas-


NOTES

302 Beside him

Upon him Which,

The

enduring love.

sat

noble eyes did

for the

rest.

Genius that there strove.

foUies bore that

it

invest.

EXPERIENCE This essay was written

Emerson's

"The

life.

at

one of the

and the new were contending without pain.

and his

He

sudden

had cut loose from

day's oracle.

Life

He was

in his journals

carried

him

tradition

of spiritual and

that period

In

severely tried in these years.

he gratefiiUy recognizes

his

experi-

social

many

up-

places

debt to the Puritan

him through the whirlpools or sloughs

in

sons of the

heavy form

moods and which he

morning of

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

that

day

in

which he saw

sink.

Grief came

the death of his first-born child, of

In

this essay,

which

aspects in an unusual degree of contrast,

says,

'

'

I

have

set

my heart

on honesty

grieving at the slightness of the scar

left.

presents

and of

in this chap-

wound and

his

In his desire

for

ter," he speaks of the speedy healing of this

ment.

gall at

and experienced the

became experimental, and manifold

wonderful promise and charm.

utter

But

off.

of a virtuous ancestry and their inherited impulse. This

many of the to

old

yoke of conscience masterftil,"

growth possibly made the yoke

ments were suggested in

tradition

The

His growth was not

him.

attendant on trying to live only according to each

difficulties

heaval.

in

he fortunately could not shake

intellectual

He

times.

" the

bore

this inheritance

epochs of Mr.

critical

Angel troubled the pool."

freedom from hypocrisy, he makes an overstrong But

his health

and

faith

state-

and great power of detachment

shortened and soothed his suffering.


NOTES He

passed through

this

303

epoch of unrest bravely, and came

soon into that serene strength and happiness which remained for life.

no record of

I find

small part of

course on

this essay delivered as a lecture.

A very

was taken from " Being and Seeming "

it

"Human

Culture"

in the

1837-38.

in

The motto would seem to have been written after the essay. The " lords of life " are named a little more fully in a paraclosing portion.

This image of a passing of

in procession pleased

Emerson's fancy, and he often

graph near

demigods used acter

its

The

it.

of the

difficulties

The are

last lines

of the piece, and

on

show him aware of

the unrestfiil char-

sure faith of a harmonious solution

in

a better day.

dear, dangerous lords that rule our

spoken of in his poem

life

" Musketaquid."

Page 4J, note i. In the procession of the " lords of life," Dream has been seen. In the paragraph near the end of the chapter, he

called Illusion.

is

At

the time

Mr. Emerson was becoming more

written,

the ancient religion of India, in

such a part.

The

Dial,

which Maya or

which he had

called, in several

Page ting

was

as

edited,

had

they are there

of its numbers.

4.6, note I.

His

own want

of animal

spirits, unfit-

him

in his opinion for action or society, but serenely re-

ceived as driving report,

it

Illusion bears

lately

quotations from the "Ethnical Scriptures,"

when

acquainted with

is

him thence

to solitary places to listen

again and again dwelt

upon by Mr. Emerson

and

in his

journals.

Page 46, note

2.

the previous year, he

In a

had

letter

written to John Sterling in

said:

"Truly,

I

think

it

a false


NOTES

304

standard to estimate health, as the world does,

man,

by our power

instead of

by whenever people lose

all

my

best days.

tell

me

Task

I

to

do our work.

grow

thin

by some

and puny,

these bad bodies

fat

If I should he

and they

should

I

will serve

us and be just as well a year hence, if they grumble to-day."

by

Page 46, note j. " Rhea having accompanied with Saturn stealth, the Sun found them out, and pronounced a solemn

curse against her, containing that she should not be delivered in

any month or year;

Hermes

but

afterwards making his

court to the goddess, obtained her favor, in requital of which

he went and played

with the

at dice

Moon

and

the seventieth part fr6m each day, and out of five

new

as the birthdays

say, Osiris

Upon

of their gods.

was born, and

a voice

The Lord of all Morals, " Of Isis and

him, saying,

Page

of her

made

these

days, which he added to the three hundred and sixty

other days of the year, and these the Egyptians

tarch's

won

all

'

^.J, note I.

century.

Three

the

came

things

is

.

into the

now

.

.

of these,

first

observe as

they

world with

"

born.'

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Plu-

Osiris."

critical writers

of the eighteenth

,

Page 48, note I. The source of these lines cannot be found. Page 48, note 2. Ruggiero Boscovich, an Italian, author of a system of natural philosophy, which regarded the senses as

immediately cognizant, not of matter

attractive

and repelling

Page 48,

note j.

In the journal whence

taken Nature speaks more loudly,

Boy."

This was written

part of the '

at the

Threnody beginning

Weepest thou

?

'

but only of the

itself,

forces of particles.

" two

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; "the

passage

this

death of

my

is

sweet

same time with the second

"The

deep Heart answered,

years after the

first

part,

when

time

and thought had "reduced the calamity within the sphere."

Page 4g, by Southey.

note i.

In the

poem The Curse of Kehama,


Pige S0>

"ote I.

firmament.

the

.

.

Notes

30*

" The young

mortal enters the hall of

On

.

snow-storms of illusions."

Page JO,

note 2.

the instant,

and incessantly,

fall

Conduct of Life, "Illusions."

His creed was always onward

;

your

let

next act, and not your word, correct your past mistake.

Page Ji, note i.

Mr. Emerson was always

most of Mr. Alcott's hearers did not

rays of his illumining thought focussed.

Mr.

while

that,

troubled that

find the spot

where the

Indeed, he admitted

Alcott's angle of vision

was wider than

that

of other men, the rays did not always appear to come to-

« There

gether:

and

are defects in the lens

position, etc., to be allowed for,

and

errors of refraction

.

.

.

but 'tis the best

instrument I have ever met with."

Pog'

51

>

Page J2,

note 2.

Dr. Gamaliel Bradford.

note i.

The

interesting to him, but

steady faith

disowned

the morning says

Page

it

almost fatality of temperament was

was an evening thought, and

it,

and believe

j'j, note I.

The

that

" was

lessness elties,

New England in this

his

what

his counsel.

pseudo-science of Phrenology at

time attracted great attention in America. course on

" Hear

as in the next pages.

this

In a lecture in the

same year, speaking of the

rest-

of our people and their too ready acceptance of nov-

he

said,

"A

hint like phrenology

is

exalted into a

science to outwit the laws of nature and pierce to the courts

of power and light by

this dull trick."

Page Jj, note 2. " The soul is its own witness. " " of Menu, printed among the " Ethnical Scriptures

Lazas

in the

Dial.

Page S5, few

Page JJ, on

note i.

The power

of Effort, then accepted by

biologists, spiritualized.

rising

note 2.

from

"Still,

his knees

it

moves."

Galileo's remark

when, by cortimand of

the Court of


NOTES

3o6 made

the Inquisition, he

of

retraction

his heretical

teaching

Earth was not stationary and central, but moved

that the

around the Sun.

Page j6,

The answer

note i.

the child

to

is

the answer

when he

with which he often had to console himself

could

not meet the demands for special sympathy from his friends, or for enlistment in particular

" My reforms

reform movements.

include, so will outlast, theirs," he said.

Page ^8,

To come down from the timeless cloudland

note I.

of the philosophers

who

or honest laborer, gave

of him by Mr. Albee that he seeing through the

him, to

visited

Mr. Emerson

window

a

man

"

drive a load of

Page ^8,

It is told

real.

wood have

note 2.

He

and honored the motives of the

tried,

was glad

saw

first

that the

man's

that a

into

to at-

'

be

from the

nity, but

We

Excuse me.

tend to these things just as if they were

prise should

with a solid farmer

the discussion in the study,

left

his yard, saying to his guests,

talk

great comfort.

Brook Farm

enter-

Commu-

own problem

could

not be solved by a company.

Page ^g, disease,

â&#x20AC;˘

note i.

A

a paralysis of the active faculties

among

after leaving college, occurs

"A

" the

similar passage about '

American

of young

'

men

the Papers from the Dial,

Letter," in Natural History of Intellect.

The

quotation

which occurs

in both

is

probably from some

of the sayings ascribed to Zoroaster.

Page sg, Page 61,

note 2.

See the quatrain

"

note i.

Mr. Emerson's

trust

his experience.

he found

it.

Looking

His

early resolve

thoughts in his lectures

make them sages

as

for the best,

pure of

:

" Do

all

was

Nature," Poems.

was rewarded by

even in humble people, to

give

only his best

not cease to utter them, and

dross as if thou wert to speak to

and demi-gods, and be no whit ashamed

if

not one in the


NOTES

307

assembly should give sign of intelligence.

you

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; unexpected

wisdom

?

Is

it

not pleasant to

depth of sentiment in middle

persons that in the thick of the crowd are true

life ?

gendemen without Page 62,

"

fields

and

jcings

the harness and the envy of the throne

note i.

Mr. Emerson's "content

of Concord, and

life

there,

in these

"

low

" Musketaquid "

told in

is

?

in the Poems.

Page 64,

note i.

biographer, seems a

Dr. Garnett,- Mr. Emerson's English little

by

troubled

evidence of the

this

period of unrest that he was going through, and thus com-

ments

' :

'

The

essay on

Experience

'

seems

'

discourse for a preacher of righteousness.

an endeavour to atone

as

for

It

at first a singular

must be regarded

The

essay

is full

experience,

by

previous over-statements

frank recognition of the unmoral aspects of the universe.

.

.

a .

of the apparent contradictions established by

but concludes that experience indefinitely pro-

tracted will reconcile all."

In

" The

Park

"

(^Poems) the thought of

this

passage will

be found.

Page 6^, the

note i.

In

this

" saving common-sense "

attitude, siying in the sun

passage

is

a strange mixture of

of Mr. Emerson, and the Poet's

and minding

his

rhyme while

Sad-eyed Fakirs swifdy say Endless dirges of decay,.

and

letting

Theist, atheist, pantheist.

Define and wrangle

how

they

list.

" Saadi," I

The Life of Emerson, by Richard Garnett, LL.D.

Scott,

1888.

Poems.

London, Walter


NOTES

3o8 Page 66, tells

note

Thoreau

i.

" half-witted

of his

Walden humorously

in his

and one-and-a-half-witted

visitors

"

there.

Page 68,

There

indirection.

A

"

note i.

Everything in the Universe goes by

no

are

very similar passage

straight lines."

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Journal.

found near the end of

is

"

Gifts

"

in this volume.

Page 68, note Page 6g,

See Luke

2.

zo.

xvii.

note i. I

am

the doubter

and the doubt.

"Brahma," Poems.

" Not the praise

O

unto us,

Lord, not unto us, but to thy name be

" !

Page yo, note

Sir

i.

Home,

Everard

a Scottish

and writer on Comparative Anatomy, supposed mainly indebted for

his

knowledge

brother-in-law, John" Hunter,

Page

to

surgeon

have been

to the manuscripts of his

which he burned.

Antigone, in Sophocles' s tragedy,

'/2, note i.

re-

proached by Creon for burying her outlawed brother's body, says,

"Nor

did I think thy proclamation, since thou art a

mortal, of force to outweigh the unwritten and seciire laws of

now and yesterday, man knows whence they came."

the gods, for these are not matters of

always were, and no

Page

y^., note

i.

With

regard to

Mr. Emerson's

but

utter-

ances concerning the Immortality of the Soul and kindred subjects,

Mr. John Albee

refiised to

sent.

Remembrances,

says, in his

dogmatize about what

is

So some thought the obscurity lay

Page 15, pages of also the

"

note i.

Circles

"

The

" Emerson

necessarily obscure at prein

him."

doctrine announced in the opening

in the

first

book of Essays, suggesting

poems "Uriel" and " Brahma."


NOTES Page

" would

exist

Page jg,

309

discovery

we

have made that we

perhaps make the sentence clearer: the discov-

ery of our lower .

" The

/J", note 2.

warping the divine universal

self,

These pages were bravely

note i.

To " give the

deavor for utter honesty and freedom from cant.

Devil his due," find the good leaven in apparent

may surround and beset us, that is, our lower The intellect alone working at the problem

" sad

'

self-knowledge

'

and which, rocks

Page 81,

it

needs

fell

the beauty of Uriel,

whether of the

God

faith to see that

He

note I.

facts in the sense

man

of science, business, or farm,

He

warned people of

facts,

what

for

" disloyalty

the

of

own." Yet he

patient in considering them.

"Bores

Journal, 1841. to a

good indignation,

are

if

good

who came

and Short-Beard,

make Artesian Page 84,

would

ÂŤ'

attains

any

is

is

a

harm

a

help

mania

day with intent

me something.

'

name of Nemesis

or

Des-

law of Destiny that the soul which

vision of truth in

served from

ways,

Adrasteia was a

there

'

Long-Beard

say.

hither the other

wells of us, taught

note I.

And

tiny.

They may

too.

not to a sympathy; to

better than temperance,' as Proclus

to

to bleak

could not deal with other people's

mistaking other people's chivalries for their

you

up

inhabits.

of problems, but he always valued the

they meant to him.

was

arrives at that

as in the next pages, carries the soul

where

which

evil,

selves.

which Withering

On

self.

written, in en-

always unharmed.

company with

the

god

is

pre-

next period, and if attaining

until the ' '

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The Phadrus

al-

of Plato, Jow-

ett's Translation.

Page 86,

note I.

In

this

essay

is

less

of the ascension to


NOTES

310

which

heights of assured content,

almost

all

Faith gives the that

characterizes the ending

And

of Emerson's writings.

God's

lie

and the author remembers

to Experience,

circles are great

and

of

yet here in the end

his time

is

long.

CHARACTER A part of this essay was in the lecture of the same name m the course on "The Times," given in the Masonic Temple in Boston, in the season of

1841â&#x20AC;&#x201D;42.

Another essay on Character was printed in the North

American Review

for April,

1866, and was included by Mr.

Cabot in the volume Lectures and Biographical Sketches, published after

Mr. Emerson's

General Index

in the

will

show how much was

especially

in

Sketches,

may

"

reference to the Intellect

said of character in other essays;

Aristocracy,"

and Biographical

Lectures

be found much that

kindred to

is

For evidence of

the following one.

A

death.

volume Natural History of

this essay

and

he watched with moÂťe

it

interest than for learning or talent, in the street or parlor, in

and among

travel, in

town meeting,

scholars.

In a stray leaf that remains of a lecture on

ences

'

'

is

written,

'

'

to himself will, if only first

and

Say not you are

We

have nothing to impart.

The

courts,

by

know

legislatures,

" Influ-

sufficient to yourself

that

whoever

is

but

sufficient

me also." The Poet," part

existing, succor

motto will be found in "

of that

long poem, never published by him.

The first

second motto

is

part of the

printed in the collection

of his younger brother,

poem

May-Day,

Edward

Bliss

in

written early, but

1867, in memory

Emerson,

who

died in

Porto Rico in 1834, his brother of the brief but blazing

star.


NOTES Page go,

This conversation seems

note i.

Mr. Emerson's

have been of

to

invention.

lole, daughter

by Hercules,

311

of King Eurytus, was carried home captive

he had conquered and

after

slain

her father.

Dejanira, his wife, jealous of lole, tried to retain her husband's love

by putting on him the

whereby Hercules

The

died.

by

tunic poisoned

which she believed

the centaur Nessus,

be

to

story of lole

is

the blood of

a love

charm,

told in the

Tra-

of Sophocles.

chiniie

Page gi, Page g2,

The

note i.

then the idol of

New

Compare

note i.

Deep

foregoing passage refers to Webster,

England.

in the

man

his

poem

'*

Fate."

his fate, etc.

sits fast

Page pj, note i. At the time of his first marriage and during few years of his ministry in Boston, Mr. Emerson and his

the

young wife found ioner,

All through his friend

home

a

in

Mr. Abel Adams, and

attached.

and the

This passage

later years

Murray Forbes.

man

Street with his parish-

this

a

valued and

helpfiil

in the journal has his initials

place

was

filled

by Mr. John

Friendship and sympathy united the scholar

of large

affairs.

son has given a portrait of

and private

affairs

"American

to

Page 04,

Chardon

merchant of integrity and success.

Mr. Adams was

life

adviser.

In

a

In

"

Social

this silent

Aims " Mr. Emer-

power

for

good

in public

(but without naming Mr. Forbes)

be proud of." Leonora,

note i.

d'Ancre (murdered

Letters

in

161 7

as

an

and Social Aims.

widow of

Concini, Marquis

for exercising

an almost usurp-

ing power over the young Louis XIII. ), was accused and

burned

for

having used the influence of a sorceress over the

queen of Henry IV.


NOTES

312 Page p6,

note i.

Unit and Universe are round In vain 'produced,

;

rays return.

all

"Uriel," Poems.

Page p6,

note

delivered,

these

theocracy.

It

Politics," as

"Character

occur:

one day

wrill

"

In the lecture on

2.

sentences

suffice

first

the true

government of

the

for

is

the world."

Page p7,

A

note I.

"Svend Vonved," was

verse

from

a

a favorite with

rude Danish ballad,

Mr. Emerson:

Success shall be in thy courser Success in thyself,

which

is

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

tall.

best

of all.

Success in thy hand, success in thy foot.

In struggle with man, in battle with brute.

Page p8,

His friend Thoreau's speech, quoted in

note i.

the "Biographical Sketch," pleased

much

be feared

to

God

popular with

Page 100, scurely,

was

as

ginal

those

shows the

This sentence, reading a

by the emphatic delivery of the

in the manuscript

whom

alluded to

is

Community.

"You

is

so

ob-

little

sign of a paper written for delivery.

and

first

edition

It

first

word,

was repeated.

Ori-

men, conductors of the water of Life from

its

source, are

he values.

Page lOl,

gins,

him: "Nothing

Atheism may comparatively be

himself."

note I.

certainly helped

which

fear.

note

i.

The

journal shows that

Mr. George Ripley,

The

the person

the head of the Brook

passage, written in April,

1

Farm

842, there be-

might know beforehand that your friends will not

succeed, since you have never been able to find the Institution in the Institutor."


NOTES Page 102,

A

note i.

the change from the

first

new

ai3 put into the sentence by

life

where

edition,

read,

it

" which

sheds a splendor on the passing hour."

Page lOJ,

note i.

When God

success exalts thy lot

for'

thy virtue lays a plot.

"

A

Page lo6,

note i.

Emerson gave

a lecture

tive topic,

on

it,

...

few years

and

to be

company pf men,

.

.

.

found true

in

attrac-

look

as I

every country and

and not spurious

pic-

This, with additional matter from later

was published by Mr. Cabot

graphical Sketches under the

Page loy,

England, Mr.

an interest of the human race, and,

tures of excellence."

writings,

later in

on " Natural Aristocracy," "an

inevitable, sacred

in every

Prayer," Poems, Appendix.

title

Lectures

in

and Bio-

"Aristocracy."

Rev. Edward Taylor, of the

note i.

Sailors'

whom and Mr. Emerson were He is also alluded to in the essays

Bethel in Boston, between

mutual regard and honor.

"

"The

"Eloquence,"

on "Greatness,"

and

Preacher,"

Historic Notes of Life and Letters in Boston."

Page loy,

When Mr.

note 2.

Alcott returned from Eng-

1842 with Messrs. Lane and Wright, two Englishmen interested in the same ideas, who came in high hope to realland in

ize

them

with

in a neysf

failure

and

aspiring country,

Emerson wrote

in his journal:

a

hope

that

of their statement of other of his fancy.

bringing

facts.

One

When

is

other in the incredibility

the fool of his idea and the

Alcott wrote from England that

home Wright and Lane,

pvhich I required

him

to

met

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Mr.

"Alcott and Edward Taylor

[" Father Taylor "] resemble each

he was

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

in the Fruitlands attempted community,

I

wrote him a

show them, saying

that they

letter

might


NOTES

314

no

safely trust his theories, but that they should put

When

ever in his statement of facts.

them

his victims, I asked

and

if

they

what-

trust

arrived here, he

al]

he showed them that

letter;

they answered that he did: so I was clear."

Page lOg,

This passage

note i.

The

Desatir,

Prophets,

or

is

'

Book of Shet the Prophet Zirtusht

'

quoted from

" The

the second volume of

.in

Sacred Writings of the Ancient Persian Ancient Persian Version and

together with the

Commentary of the Fifth Sasan, carefully published by MuL'a Firuz Bin Kaus. Bombay, 1818.

As "It

the book

is

said that

is

exceedingly rare,

when

of Zertusht had spread

went around over the

fires,

Tutianush,

give the

I

whole passage.

the fame of the excellence of the nature all

when

over the world, and

the wise

who

ments over them

men

a

and to enquire of Zertusht

to go to Iran

If he

was puzzled and

unable to answer, he could be no prophet, but an answer, he was a speaker of truth."

"He

passage quoted in the text.)

The prophet

the prophet's nativity.

On

of

life.

said,

'

He

of

God told

it.

He

said,

star a deceiver

next enquired into his diet and

which you have put the

God

to

1

mode

me

have answered you the ques;

now

not, but listen

it

hath informed

to unfold

-

in return retain in

famed Yunani Sage directed you

Zertusht and disclose

me

follows the

then asked the day of

'

mind what

for

he returned

The prophet of God explained the whole. The Sage His mode of hfe cannot suit an impostor. The prophet

of Yezdan then said to him, tions

if

(Here

such a day, and under such a fortunate

cannot be born.'

domes

Sage named

time had the superiority in acquire-

that

at all,

of Yunan selected

concerning the real nature of things.

'

Isfendiar

the world, erected fire-temples and raised

it.'

The

me

of

Sage

it

and hear what they

and hath sent

said,

your

to enquire

'Speak.'

his

of

ask;

word unto

Thereupon

the


NOTES Page log, Milton

to

notice of

"

him printed

Celestial

and helpful

Love "

in the

This might be supposed

note i.

Mr. Emerson's disappointment elevating

Sketches.

Homer's Odyssey, Book V., 99. These lines are in the third division

note 2.

Page 114,

and Biographical

in Lectures

note I.

Daemonic and

Initial,

applies this saying of

venerated friend, Samuel Hoar, Esq., in the

his

Page 112,

said in the Timceus.

is

Mr. Emerson

note i.

Page 112, of

This

note 2.

no,

Page

315

Mr.

in

Poems.

to refer to

that Carlyle could see nothing

Alcott, and treated

him

rather

rudely, but this passage occurs in the journal a year before

Nevertheless,

that time.

is

impracticable,"

very likely refers to similar expe-

it

When

riences in Boston.

some one

You

cable as our thoughts are.

will reply that

to say our thoughts are quite impracticable, that

any man

is

" Mr.

later said,

Mr. Emerson answered, "Yes,

quite impracticable.

to decline the thoughts or the

men

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

it

I

do

think

feel at liberty

that go by, because they

with and conformable

are not quite easy to dfeal

will not

nor do

do not

I

Alcott

impracti-

to the opinions

of the Boston Post."

MANNERS A

lecture

with

this

name had been given by Mr. Emerson

Boston course on

in the

the winter of

This essay given at

"The

Philosophy of History" in

1836-37. is

the lecture in the course on

Tremont Temple

" The Times "

in the winter of

year later, and before this essay was published,

gave

m New

third of

York

which

England."

five

lectures

treated of

on "

" Manners

New

1841-42.

A

Mr. Emerson England," the

and Customs of

New


NOTES

3i6 This

always attractive to Mr. Emerson and con-

subject,

he

stantly recurring in his writings, '

largely

'

"

Be-

it

was

treat? at length in

volume Conduct of Life. The present essay shows that, like most of the

havior

in the

made up from

others,

notes taken at various times on manners,

whether commanding or charming or merely conventional in

some

cases with a Montaigne-like frankness

Readings both in to

the subject, and

sionally, as in

"

The motto

is

first

Mr. Emerson's humor

Circe's horned

taken from

four lines from a song

"

Ignorance and Folly; in

"

O

crops out occa-

Ben Jonson's "Masques,"

by the

Priest in

"Love

Page 120,

He

or sham.

so well

his voice to tell.

it,

always interested Mr.

especially quick to notice

"The

In

was

this

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Architecture, like sculpture, though he

note I.

was

!

wants half

never had opportunity to study erson.

the

Freed from

the others from the song of Daedalus

more and more praise

tolerance.

company."

Pleasure reconciled to Virtue," beginning

As

and

books and in romance contribute

scientific

Problem "

Em-

any pretentiousness

in the architecture, not

it is

in the painting or sculpture, of Italy that he

saw the Great

Soul working through the hand of the passive master.

Page 121, pages of

Page 122, in Chaucer's

and of

it is

This idea

note I.

" Heroism " note I.

is

presented in the

first

in Essays, First Series.

He

took great pleasure in the passage

",Wif of Bathe's Tale "

printed under that

title

in

that treats oi Gentilesse,

Parnassus, the collection

poetry edited by him.

Page 122, note

2.

his ideal poet, loved

Said, or Saadi, as

humble

cottages

Mr. Emerson named

and honors labor,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;


NOTES Nor

loved he

317

less

Stately lords in palaces.

women

Princely

hard to please.

Fenced by form and ceremony.

Decked by

And

courtly rites and dress

etiquette of gentilesse.

â&#x20AC;˘'Fragments on

Page I2J, note

The Poet," Poems, Appendix.

These

i.

the lecture "Aristocracy," to

'

ideas are set out better called (as

more

folly in

was

at first,

it

avoid any misunderstanding in England as to what was

meant) "Natural Aristocracy."

He

there asks.

Why

invincible respect for war, that in the triumphs of our

mercial civilization

and the drum loses

to

its

it

we

can never quite smother the trumpet

and answers.

high price

whom

peril

?

existence

but because courage never

Why,

is

most adorned and

but because

and ready

to

we

wish

to see those

attractive foremost to

answer

for their actions

life ?

Page I2J, note

Mr. Emerson might

2.

exclamation in those days of

Page 124, Mr. Emerson as

Why,

?

for their object,

with their

this

com-

unfitting

well

make

this

" The Newness."

In allusions to himself in his journals,

note i.

often speaks of his hopeless lack of animal spirits

him

"Terminus,"

for general

the

poem of

society his

and

and

for action,

old age, he speaks of

it,

in

but

with serene acceptance.

Page I2J,

note i.

Two

Persian monarchs of the

name

Sapor, of the dynasty of the Sassanidae, conquered the

emperors in battle in the third and fourth centuries In the previous sentence the real gentleman

good company

for pirates I

Lectures

and academicians.

and Biographical

Sketches.

is

of

Roman

a. d.

spoken of

as

Mr. Emerson


NOTES

3i8 always took pleasure the

in the story told

them

telhng

that

when he was ransomed he

them, which promise he

Page 126,

note i.

brought

to

when

that

he made them

Among Mr.

mind by

should crucify

ftilfilled.

mind and

the philosophic

pirates

compositions, at the same time freely

listen to his rhetorical

is

by Plutarch,

young Cassar was the captive of the

He

sentence.

this

whom

Emerson's friends in

Thoreau

habit prevailed,

especially

was something of

a

Diogenes, but with no sourness, and more human; though almost

all his

much of unlike

days were spent in peacefial Concord, there was

the heroic

Socrates

taste,

it

is

in

Epaminondas

surprising

Symposium of

in his

temper.

Though

having a poetic rather than a dialectic

how much

Plato as given

of the description

by Alcibiades of

the

in

when

Socrates,

they were tent-mates in the campaign in Potidaea, suggests

Thoreau.

Page I2J,

note I.

Most of

the above paragraph

from a lecture on "Prudence" in the course on ture

"

in

1838.

It there

goes on as follows:

we by

in English manners, and, as

and ripen, come

to set a

blame

we

in the

recognition of hates

all

too,

starts,

unbest

age, cultivation and leisure

more sanguine tempera-

from our democratic wantonness, usually

English all

is

high value on that species of

breeding, which foreigners, from a

ment, and

Cul-

"Thus we

derstand exceeding well in America the charm of what

refine

taken

is

"Human

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

and any

the mild, exact decorum, facts

by

a steadiness of

the cool

temper which

screams, faintings, sneezings, laughter and

violence of any kind.

The

English, and

we

also, are a

all

com-

mercial people, great readers of newspapers and journals and

books, and are therefore familiar with

comic,

political tidings

from

all

parts

all

the variety of tragic,

of the world, and are

not to be thrown off their balance by any accident near by,


NOTES whom

like villagers

a

dog

week.

319

the overturn of a coach, or a robbery, or

Wfith a kettle sets agape,

and furnishes with gossip

for a

'

Page I2g,

note i.

The The The One

lord

is

the peasant that was.

peasant the lord that shall be; lord

is

hay, the peasant grass.

dry, and one the living tree.

What

town and

prizes 'the

the tower

Only what

the pine-tree yields;

Sinew

subdued the

that

fields, etc.

" Woodnotes," Page 130,

am

note i.

Journal,

?

"It

1841.

gentleman and the king

II.,

is

Poems.

word

not a

no more,' but

that

'I

fact

expressed in every passage between the king and a gen-

a

is

is

a

tleman."

Page 132, he held

note i.

as essential to

his earlier poetic

The strength and dignity of calmness man as modesty to woman. In one of

fragments he said

:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Composure Is the

Page 132, note

2.

latitude in virtue to

pudency of man.

This allowance by the world of some

men who,

strongly expressed in

are real masters

"Aristocracy"

in

is

Lectures

even more

and Bio-

graphical Sketches.

Page IJJ,

Waver ley

note I.

The henchman

of Mclvor

thus expresses his wish that the

in

young EngUsh

Scott's officer

c^uld see the chief at the head of his clan.

Page 134, note I.

Mr. Emerson's

feeling

on caUing on


NOTES

320

manly neighbor, Edmund Hosmer, who did the

his

ploughing and planting for him,

Appendix

in the verses in the

Poems

to the

" When

Said Saadi,

:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

I stood before

Hassan the camel-driver's door," This neighbor

" Agriculture now

but

Farmer described

the

is

necessary-

expressed in Oriental form

is

etc.

Mr. Emerson's

in

in Massachusetts," a paper written for the Dial,

included in the volume Natural History of Intellect.

He

perhaps Jjad in mind here the ex-

which he took

pleasure, of Jean Paul Richter with

Page I^y, pression, in

note I.

"The

regard to the Greek statues:

repose, not of weariness

but of perfection, looks from their eyes and

upon

rests

their

lips."

Page iSf, note the last passage in

Compare

2.

" The

we

all

Give All

"Recall,"

Page 1^8, note I. that

"

Celesdal Love as

"

expressing

something

should ever have in mind, was an improvement

made by Mr. Emerson on "signify " of the Page I3g, Lectures

Love " and

to

in the Poems.

The

note i.

essay

and Biographical

on

edition.

foible.

This reminder of the exact sense fi-om

note 2.

the derivation of a

first

Superlative," in

Sketches, warns Americans in an

amusing way of a besetting national

Page I3g,

" The

common word

is

an instance of Mr.

Em-

erson's habitual consideration of his words.

Page 140,

This

note I.

is

an expression of Heracleitus

is,

" Of Eating " The wisest

meaning might be,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; unobscured

quoted by Plutarch in his Morals in the essay

of Flesh."

The

soul

dry

by '

is

like a

passage as translated there '

light.

'

the fogs of passion Professor

W. W.

'

Its

and circumstance; but Professor John

Goodwin,

"See Mullach, Fragm.

in his edition

Philos. p.

of the Morals, thus

325 (No. 73)."

refers


NOTES

321

H. Wright, of Harvard

University,

expression of Heracleitus

was corrupted

word which he used

the first

principle.

soul

is

Avrj

Page 140, note graphical, at

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

found meaning of Good-will makes

Page 144,

ued more

he

is

is

I

noted

"

Pro-

heard Mr. Emerson

of wide sympathies

when Mr. Emerson

who was

whom

he val-

Some one

did not seem to think

spoken

man! "

a very remarkable

Mr. Emerson, "

said

autobio-

is

life.

than for her judgment.

for her virtues

highly of some traveller says that

here

insight.'''

remark which

a zealous lady

said at his table,

dry

Circe and her company of lions, or

note i.

beasts, recalls a

make about

The

'

Mr. Emerson's own habit

In the journal of 1842

note i.

that

Nature.

"

or disagreeable chances in daily

Page 14.J,

homed

On

ignoring eye

the expression describing

awkward

koI apia-TT],

Heracleitus,

" The

2.

in transmission;

rather nearest to Fire, his

signified

i/^'X'^ a-OftxaTarrj

wisest and best.'

that the original

says

" But Miss X " O, Miss X,"

of,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

she has always a whole stud of Phoe-

nixes in charge."

Page 14s,

note i.

of this epitaph, though hardly believe that

Page 146,

it

I

have been unable to find any source

much

search has been

made

for

note i.

Ruy Diaz

preux chevalier of Spain,

the Moors,

was celebrated

and

Southey from these materials composed

Chronicle of the Cid.

from

in

by Lockhart

in the struggle against

ancient chronicles, romances

Mr. Emerson

this to his children.

are translated

yet

de Bivar in the eleventh

century, the

ballads.

it,

was composed by Mr. Emerson.

Many

his

noble

liked to read passages

of the ballads about the Cid

in Spanish Ballads.

Page 147, note I. Keats, Hyperion. Page 1^0, note I. Mr. Emerson early took exactly this ground and always held to it. It was not for man to say what

m


NOTES

322

woman

What

should or should not do.

the sense and virtue

He

of the sex demanded should of course come to them. spoke to this

this

theme

is

purpose

many

note i.

Dr. Holmes

sage that Ejnerson "speaks of

rhythm and rhyme.

Page 153,

note i.

addresses on

in language that

seems

'

This consoling prescription of country

" Musketaquid,"

verses in

his

said of the foregoing pas-

woman

of disappointed

for the hurts

life

of

printed in Miscellanies.

Page 152, to pant for

One

times.

ambition

social

though

troubles

his

recalls

his

were not

these:

my

All

hurts

My garden spade can heal. A woodland walk, A quest of river-grapes, a mocking thrush, A wild-rose, or rock-loving columbine. my

Salve

Pdge 153,

note 2.

characterizes the

love

which

which

worst wounds.

open to

is

The

end of the all

gentility so-called

often repeated

O

ascension to a high plane, which essays, here appears in

as the basis is

a rude attempt.

Wordsworth's

what

is

Of justice

honour

>.

of true

lines:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

'Tis the

showing

gentility,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

at

Mr. Emerson

finest sense

which the human mind can frame.

Intent each lurking frailty to disclaim.

And

guard the

way of life from

all

oiFence,

Suffered or done.

Page 154, note I. In previous notes it has been mentioned Osman was the name given by Emerson to the ideal man,

that

subject to the

Page 155,

same conditions note I.

as himself.

This fable

is

original.


NOTES

323

GIFTS This short essay was one of Mr. Emerson's contributions to the Dial.

In the widest sense he held that there was no such thing

The

as giving.

nature, rendered

it

the individual will

"

given.

common

Over-soul

come

him

to

Direct giving

is

to

all,

the

community of

Moreover, what belongs

impossible.

to

what does not cannot be

;

agreeable to the early belief of

men direct giving of material or metaphysical aid. The boy beheves there is a teacher who can sell him wisdom. ;

.

Churches believe in imputed merit. not .

.

much .

others

of

Gift is

of

Men,"

Great

strictness

Man

is

.

.

Indirect service

.

gifts closes

Men.

Representative

each comes forth from

is

mother's

his

left."

fitness

it

him

Serving

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; " Uses

behind him."

And

that

easy for

are

And elsewhere, womb, the gate

But in the domestic and usual sense he was receiver.

we

.

endogenous.

contrary to the law of the Universe.

is

serving us.

" When

But in

cognizant of direct serving.

.

was

yet so fine

was hard

to

for

choose a

his sense

him

bloom of symbolism upon

to

for

gift

a giver

and

both of honor and of

receive,

and not always

another that should have a

it.

In the family the old-time

New

England custom of

New

Year's presents was never supplanted by the modern Christmas-tree.

To

his

last

days,

when

around him, Mr. Emerson gave

ceremony, and obeyed the before each present sat

rule

was opened.

New

his grandchildren

were

Year's morning to this

of writing

Over

a

poem

to

be read

these verses he often

out the old year, and took great pleasure next morning in

hearing the young people's eiforts, though most humble about


NOTES

324

" The Maiden

own.

his

panied that characteristic

As

time and

far as

daughter and her husband.

allowed him, he selected his presents

taste

for his family, but,

him

Song of the ^olian Harp " accom-

gift to his

even from them,

it

was

a httle hard for

to receive.

Great

gifts

went out from him

them due, but on Page i6o,

that of taste,

however,

seemed such a triumph achieved cases, hips

Care of

"Amelioration."

was

study,

its

Page l6l,

thing

is

A

would

his other

and plums

of hard seed-

was

a

and practice of

orchard and especially the

which perfumed

his

his later years.

The Nemesis

was

often quoted

you can pay

for a

of regret, or a

least

highest price

in a sensitive

fruit-culture)

saying of Landor's

"The

to ask for it."

misgiving,

his

farm-work of

note i. :

him,

his pears

doctrine

his

thought

Dutch pomologist men-

(a

small crop of pears,

the only

by Mr. Emerson

Downing' s book on

he honored because of

harvesting of

whom he

closed.

in evolution out

Van Mons

and haws.

tioned in his copy of saint

were

Fruits always pleased

note i.

more than

senses

to those to

this subject his lips

mind show

the price to have

who

died in his youth,

been too high.

Page i6l,

note 2.

John Thoreau,

Henry's older brother, was

He gave Mr. character.

Emerson an

The

latter

a lover

instance of giving according to one's

recorded in his journal:

wrote of Gifts and neglected a Jr. ,

capital

a

it

must be,

— and

melodious family in

praises.

There

's

a gift for

it

there

" Long

ago I

example. John Thoreau,

one day put a blue-bird' s box on

years ago,

mer

of Nature and of children.

it

my

stiU

is

barn,

fifteen

with every sum-

adorning the place and singing

you which

cost the giver

its

no money,

but nothing which he bought could have been as good.


NOTES "I

of another quite inestimable

think

knew how much

I

see

daguerre,

my

boy

well

it

which

him

in beauty

within

"May

shelter

John Thoreau

offered

did

A

few months

friendship.

and comfort

compound

at

before yesterday Dr.

benefactors

and adorn

Page 162, :

!

me

sent

'

have planted by

"

his

my

he recorded

interest,

home

Day

Prometheus

the

after,

thought of other friends, of an investment for

1837.

my

to

have since to thank John Thoreau for

I

he made

I

him

me

and brought

it

after

z,

Waldo, then

to take

two years

which

der to

He

done.

Adams and Mr. Ripley trees

:

little

then in town, and he, Thoreau,

and gentle piece of

The happy

me and

to

I thankfully paid for.

died, and

that wise

came

who was

a daguerreotypist

would

should value a head of

He

years old.

five

325

Concord

in

:

Hobbs, Dr.

from Waltham thirty-one

What

home.

These pines and

shall I ren-

chestnuts

still

his house.

note

Epimetheus thus counsels

i.

oiS'

his brother

'Yi-wi.jx.r]Bai%

i^ftaxraff tog 01 ctTre IIpo/xijSciis fx-yprom, SCi>pov

Se^acrOai Trap Tfqvoi 'OXu/XTrtov dA.\ aTTOTre/XTrav f$07rL(T<j) [iri

TTOV Tt

KaKov yevqrai. Hesiod, Works and Days, 85-88.

Page 162,

note 2.

dehght and

"

felt as if I

former Ufe, so sincerely passage '«

is

marked

:

Oh, how am

pleased that I

bounty, and 1

In Mr. Emerson's copy of Cotton's

of Montaigne, which book,

translation

as a

boy, he read with

myself had written it

spoke

my

this

book

in

some

thoughts," the following

— I

obliged to almighty

God, who

should immediately receive particularly reserved

Rev. Samuel Ripley,

his uncle,

all

my

all I

has been

have from

obligation to

his

him-

and two other friends in Waltham.


NOTES

326 self

How

!

may

never

which the

I

Page l6j, to

for

May

!

happy

continue with

it

A new

note j.

A common

fire.

him by restoring

to

show

his friends, near

their love or reverence

and sending him abroad

it,

and more of the emotion which he

trial

house was nearly

moved

impulse

Something of the struggle

meantime.

me

In me

and strange experience and in his age his

the opportunity to

far, to seize

I

liberty in

'

Mr. Emerson when

destroyed by

and

lived

far

O

any one.

endeavour to have no need of any one.

I

omnis est spes mihi.

came

beg of his holy compassion that

I

a real thanks to

have thus

last.

do

instantly

owe

for refreshment

Mr. Emerson's mind,

in

felt, is

shown

in the corre-

spondence with Dr. Le Baron Russell and Judge Hoar, the friends to

whom

the contributors committed the pleading of

This

their case.

is

printed in the

Memoir, from which ious Judge, the

way

I extract a

Appendix

ambassador, relates

of prelude that some of

who

treasurer of an association

to

Mr. Cabot's

The

few sentences.

how "

friends

his

told

I

had made him

wished him

possible for restoration,

the association

" When

on

hfe to stand

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

his

" I am what

When

said that

own

feet,

glad that

list

to a

...

he seemed very

and

he

of contributors.

Mr. Emerson, who

made up

his

mind

" Thank them

to

for

far in

he hardly knew what

that

was very

great.

.

.

.

.

.

.

is

feeble

a debt of obligation his friends feel to

kindness he wrote:

house which

neighborhood.

he had been allowed so

that the kindness of his friends

But he must see the

learn

to restore in this

he understood the thing

He

had

that

order to get the best ideas

and then apply them

was formed

deeply moved.

to say,

fire, in

a

go to England

to

and examine Warwick Castle and other noted houses been recently injured by

ingen-

him by

accept

and

ill,

can

him." his

fi-iends'

me whenever you meet


NOTES them, and say to them that

am

I

327 wood

not

or stone if I have

not yet trusted myself to go to each one of them directly."

And when

"

wrote:

articulate also

he was allowed

It

to see the

Names of

voice.

were of friends of seemed

to

he

his benefactors

dear and noble friends; names

of high respect with me, but on which

claims ; names, too, that carried

I

of

list

cannot be read with dry eyes or pronounced with

friends of

me

back

had no known

I

many

years, as they

mine more than of me, and thus

be drawing on the

of the departed."

virtues

Page 16^, note I. There were certain persons whose Oriental temperament seemed to him to bestow on them a right to exercise their genius

perhaps

for gifts,

as valid as that

of the Puritan to maintain his independence of favors.

NATURE his journal:

"I

justice to write a

new

In June, 1840, Mr. Emerson wrote think I must do these eyes of

chapter on Nature.

mine the

This delight

we

all

in

take in every

show of

down to the lowest we be as yet only though sequel, without particulars, is not what we want. We knowing all not at gazers, wishers and night or day or iield or forest or sea or city,

are predominated, here as elsewhere,

resemble those great discoverers

sometimes from infancy, with facts, in

lock,

which the

and they

sunsets

and

let

it

secret lies

by an upper wisdom, and

who

are haunted for years,

a passion for the fact, or class

which they

not go until the blessing

starlights, these

notes

and animal forms

ears,

but hover

still,

as

swamps and

off \Vhich

we

whole

is

won.

rocks,

So these

these

bird-

cannot get our eyes and

moths round

a Sanscrit cipher covering the

of

are destined to un-

a

lamp, are no doubt

religious history

of the


NOTES

328

and presently we

universe, character.

The

woods

of angels.

full

" No me no

inventory

tax for

my

is

read

shall

pastures are

full

it

oiF into action

and

of ghosts for me, the morning

complete.

.

.

The

.

Select-men assess

use of the woods, where I find

first-sight,

second-sight and insight.

" The

asters

and eupatoriums are maturing

buds, the gerardia

me

my

that

filled

getting ready

is

their leaves

and

pro&se flowers, warning

its

book should be ended before

their capsules are

with seed."

In the course given in Boston in the winter immediately before the publication of the second series of Essays, one of the lectures this

was

that they

of

its

certain stray leaves

manuscript of

seem

to indicate

were what remained when that lecture was prepared

for publication as ville

The

RelatioTf to Nature.

called

was not preserved, but

College,

The

an essay.

oration delivered at Water-

The Method of Nature,

in

1841, drew much

matter from the same journals which furnished that for

the present essay.

When Mr. Emerson

was writing

between 1833 and 1836, he was beginning a beautiful

softened

new

with Nature

life.

He

life,

first

book Nature,

in a state

walked with

after reverent

for nearly ten years,

essay reflects this.

his

mind was

of ferment;

faith into this

temple to receive the oracle.

but strange

by home

his

For the

he

assault

is

on

Now,

and happy communion

mood.

The

problem the

forces

in serener this

are not arrayed in due order, as in the eariier

work.

With

an opening pjean on the cheering or consoling beauty of passive nature, he passes to the consideration of living Nature, the struggle

and the becoming, which man, by the Universal Mind,

understands in part.

He

cannot quite solve Nature's riddle.


NOTES nor was

it

meant

that

he should.

new men

ing daily, and to

329

She will hint

at a

new

continue to give

new mean-

meanings.

This sentence and verse from the journal might serve second motto

" Go

:

and make thy

to the forest if

True Brahmin,

Page l6p, ness that

" of

it

all

to

The. passage

in the journal has a fresh-

On

this wonderfiil

is

put under contribution to

Nature would indulge her

gratefiil to

Are

hide in the house.

you

in the year for

their seats

and come

and almost

we

when

offspring,

in, that

it

with

all

birds

to

have

left

expect to see the jasmine and cactus burst from

loitered to attend this latter all

enough

their shining hours,

the ground instead of these last gentians and asters

out,

the world

seemed un-

you should waste

Cuba seem

Florida and

to visit us

the wealth

all

make

there not dull days

and read

to write

season

this ghttering

day when Heaven

glow with magnificence, and

the elements

fine, as if

morning meadows wet.

worth copying.

Oct. 30th, 1841.

and earth seem

in the

the Vedas and the violet.

note i.

makes

as a

thee a poet,

clean and fragrant as thy office."

life

Expound

God has made

come

which have

glory of the year ?

All insects are

very cattle that

on the ground

forth, the

lie

seem to have great thoughts, and Egypt and India look from their

eyes."

Page If 2,

And

note i.

the countless leaves of the pine are strings

Tuned

to the lay the

wood-god ÂŤ'

Page IfJ,

God

my

II.,

Poems.

84 1 " The good rivervaliant Henry Thoreau here.

note i. Journal, June,

has taken the form of

sings.

Woodnotes," 1

.


NOTES

330

me

and introduced lit

stream,

unknown, to

life,

boat,

new world

to this vulgar, trite

time,

all

left

lying as

one of

streets

Through one

or poetry to prose.

and then

of his shadowy,

to the riches

a lovely

all

science,

starlit,

and shops

field all

moon-

and yet

close,

as

we went

good

friend!

I said, as

West

looked

I

overhead and underneath, and he, with

rowed towards dipping your

with

all

it,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

take care

wooden

:

to the

history behind us

and entered into nature with one stroke of the paddle. care,

as

death

Take

into the sunset

his face

towards me,

you know not what you do,

oar into this enchanted liquid, painted

reds and purples and yellows,

which glows under and

behind you."

Page lyj,

note 2. Stars taunt us with their mystery.

"The Page 175, in his a joy

note i.

World-Soul," Poems.

The memory of this

horn, heard

when

youth he visited the White Mountains, always remained

when

Scholar"

recalled to mind.

in Lectures

It

is

alluded to in

and Biographical

Sketches,

"The

where the

note of a bugle scatters in an instant the negative views which the poet, in a

Page 175,

low hour,

is

accepting.

note 2.

Enchanters

!

enchantresses

!

Your gold makes you seem wise

;

The morning mist within your grounds More proudly rolls, more softly lies. " The Park," Page 176,

note i.

I

am

Poems.

indebted to Dr. Ralph Barton

Perry, of Harvard University, for the following information.

These terms were probably

first

used by Averroes, the Ara^


NOTES bian commentator on Aristotle

;

331

later,

Nicolas Cusanus, Gior-

dano Bruno and Spinoza employed the same

distinction.

It

used by pantheistic philosophers to distinguish the uni-

is

verse in

ultimate, unitary signilicance from the universe as

its

aggregate of objects.

In Aristotelian terms natura naturans

would be form and

activity,

and natura naturata would be

matter.

Page lyS,

"The Two in the

note

Rivers

favorite

which

image

in the last verse

"

of

occurs in

Peter's Field

"

Poems.

Page z/p,

note i.

low minds

for

A

i.

" and

is

The

attraction

dwelt upon in

of the pseudo-sciences

" Demonology,"

Lectures

and Biographical Sketches. Page 180, losophers, of

Emerson's reading, whether of the

note i.

doctrines of the

Flowing and the Identity

immanence and emanence

in the ancient phi-

in the Neo-Platonists,

of natura naturans in the Schoolmen, of the nebular hypothesis

and

by

of the astronomers, of Evolution by the paleontologists

biologists,

his study

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; was

all

confirmed and

laid

before his eyes

of nature and man.

Page 181, Page 181,

note I.

Compare

his

poem " Xenophanes."

note 2.

And the poor grass will plot and What it will do when it is man.

plan

"Bacchus," Poems. These doctrines of the vival

of the

fittest,

struggle for existence, with the sur-

had not then attracted the attention which

Darwin and Spencer gave them Page 183,

note i.

a

few years

Dr. Paul Richer, of

admirable Introduction

to

attention to the fact that

all

later.

Paris, in his recent

the Study of Artistic Anatomy, calls the greatest savants have had some-


NOTES

332 thing of the Intuition,

artist

or poet in their minds

and then, with

;

that

is,

that they

had

made

the

care and conscience,

all

necessary experiments to establish their discovery on a scientific foundation.

Page 184, son

skilfully

By

note i.

makes

hyphen Mr. Emer-

leaving out the

" common

sense

"

here signify his

"Uni-

Mind."

versal

This passage and the succeeding ten pages under the

" Tantalus "

title

/)?ÂŤ/ (January,

1844).

which man must "Tantalus

" Ode

to

is

feel in

Its

in the last

name

first

signified the unsatisfied thirst

He

studying the Universe,

but another

name

Beauty " he wrote

:

appeared

number but one of the

for

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

you and me."

writes:

In his

I drank at thy fountain

False waters of thirst.

Page 184,

note 2.

But Nature whistled with

Did

as she pleased

" Fragments Page 186,

her winds.

on Nature," Poems, Appendix.

Similar affectionate paintings of the

" Domestic

"

and

Solitude,

and

Natural History of Intellect. Page 188, note i. In Mr. Emerson's journals, about

the

child appear in in

note j.

all

and went her way.

"Courage"

Life

in Society

in

time of his parting with his church, are

many

references to

George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, life

he was greatly

interested.

Later he found

in

whose

much

that

appealed to him in the works of Jacob Boehme, the mystic,

born

a peasant

James

shoemaker of

Silesia

in the sixteenth century.

Naylor was a humble English

religious

enthusiast,

persecuted for his supposed blasphemous views in the time of


NOTES Page ig2,

poem

This image

note i.

"The

333

is

carried out in the early

Forerunners."

Page ipj,

In "Tantalus"

note i.

passage

this

"So

is

What

splendid distances, what recesses of ineffable

it

with these wondrous

loveliness in this

or lay his

who

But

sunset.

hand or

skies

and

forests.

pomp and

can go where they are

plant his foot thereon

the round world forever and ever

follows:

and

hills

?

gbry

;

Off they

fall

from

not for hands to

is

handle."

Page ig3,

note 2.

Daily the bending

skies solicit

"The Page ig4, sive

is

etc.

Here we have the image of "

note i.

poem "The Problem." end of "Tantalus" in the Dial,

Master"

This

man,

Adirondacs," Poems.

the

lowing words are omitted here that there occur the

workman

love and tect

the pas-

in the

streams through

power

broods on

lies

his

us:"

close beside us,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; "that

where

but the

fol-

" soul

of

a paradise

of

after

the Eternal Archi-

thought and projects the world from his

bosom." Page igs, note life

the

little

In the

i.

last

Mr. Emerson's

years of

blue self-heal crept into the grass before his study

window. Page igj,

This

note 2.

Holmes found a

little

bit

of

information Dr.

scientific

too popular, and classed

it

under the

heading On-ditologie.

Page ig6, note i. Wonderful

Of one

verse of the gods.

import, of varied tone

;

They chant the bliss of their abodes To man imprisoned in his own.

"My

Garden," Poems.


NOTES

334

POLITICS This essay was based on a lecture

1839-40 on

"The

Present

Age."

Boston course of

in the

The

"Reforms" and

tics" followed "Literature" and preceded

Much new

"Religion."

Some

In

these notes. his doctrine

man,

and

it

good hope

find therein

his faith in evolution

whom

seemed well

it

one sees Emerson

to

give in

fearlessly apply

of the Universal Mind, or the common sense of

at last in the

man

this essay

to politics,

And

matter was added in the essay.

were omitted

passages that

on "Poli-

lecture

for

democracy.

nineteenth Christian century he has found one

does not appear whether himself or another

no weight of adverse experience

ment impossible

that thousands

of

will

human

make

it

—"

for a

knot of

The

an example of the

is

as well

or a pair of lovers."

firiends,

motto

to

mo-

beings might exercise

towards each other the grandest and simplest sentiments, as a

when

encourages a fearless optimism

earlier

poems of Emerson's

second period, when, perhaps influenced by the Bardic fragments, he too

much

felt

that the strength of the thought

attention to melodious expression.

says of the bard:

He

His

lost in

" Merlin"

not his brain encumber

shall

With

would be

the coil of rhythm

and number.

But, leaving rule and pale forethought.

He

aye climb

shall

For his rhyme.

With

severe condensation, in the twenty-six short lines, none

too melodious, of ; c .._

o

1

the ;

motto, -v

we

have Merlin from ]

^T_

-

Tiif

_r t\__^:

old _r


NOTES

335

the early nineteenth century proving by his overthrow, that

only

like begets

Thebes

show

that the divine

Then

The

like.

precedent of the mystic building of

to the god-inspired harping of

the

must enter

into

Muses from Helicon and

Europe of the Renaissance

Amphion

is

cited to

have strength.

that shall

the personified virtues from

cross the Atlantic to find, in a

may

country where a Lincoln

all

follow the example of Cincin-

natus, a promise of a better republic than that of Plato.

Page ipp,

note i.

reforms, and

gallant

Emerson had

In those days of eager plans forlorn-hope

attacks

all

for social

slavery,

Mr.

keep before his eyes, and present

steadily to

and

others, that the larger included the less,

spend

on

that

to

one must not

one's energy on the transient.

Page 200,

This

note i.

of sand came from the old

an attempt

is

simile

treatises

of ropes

described in Scott's ballad

Page 200, note

The

2.

to

be twisted out

on the black

"Lord

arts.

Such

Soulis."

Professor James B. Thayer,

late

Law School, wrote in 1876 to Mr. Emerson's daughter: " I was almost startled yesterday in our Law Library on opening an English treatise on The Law

of the Harvard

'

on the

Browne (1873), ^° ^^^ '^i^ J. title-page, and Mr. Emerson's name under it: 'Our

statute

is

H.

of Carriers,' by

a currency,'

Balfour

"

etc., giving the

In the original lecture

this

passage

whole passage. occurs:

" Out

of a

thousand errors, oppositions, compromises, springs ever the actual statute-book

Common wealth. Page 201,

which

regulates to-day the

note I.

He

lived to see the apparent fulfilment

of these words in the issue of the

Page 20^, which

I

note I.

He

War

of the RebelUon.

quotes often the Latin proverb of

cannot learn the source,

ministrari.

economy of the

'

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Res

nolunt diu male ad-


NOTES

336 Page 20^, omitted here

"The

This paragraph from the lecture was

note 2.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

:

who

philosopher,

never to stop at the outside or

is

appearance of things, will find more to justify his

harmony of

pohtics with

mere statute-book can a nation

than can be gathered from

the high-water

its

code.

history to

code

Its

the waters rise higher

never the

Observe that the law

One

step.

first

minority do the thing finally, against

the

all

The

it

The

Page 2o6,

thing goes before,

their just

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

it

was established law

you,

man who

who mean

presence did not

off with three to

Way," Page

;

until

becomes

the form comes

in

more ways than at

hundred Persians.

Greece and

to history

?

"

.

away

to vote right, for going tell

of masses.

.

.

.

.

Pairing off

.

away, could excuse

votes wrong, going

pose the three hundred heroes

same

it

that the vote of a pro-

phet be reckoned equal to a hundred hands.

one

it

sway."

"Away with this hurrah

note I.

In old Egypt

if

and

elements of power, namely, persons and property,

must and will have

As

urge

irresistibly

;

reluctance, roaring opposition,

law of the land.

after.

shells

last

person, a few persons, an increasing

defend

;

but

only they

still,

always the

is

only

is

last tide rose,

have not yet notched their place by a line of pebbles,

and seaweed.

the

thaij

more

is

mark showing how high the

moment perhaps

at this

There

furnish him.

faith in the

man,

the constitution of

;

or as if your

your vote.

in

Sup-

Thermopylse had paired

Would

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;"

it

have been

all

the

Considerations by the

Conduct of Life. 20'/, note I.

From

this

point the lecture ended dif-

ferently, as given below.

" It

seems to follow from these doctrines

that

nothing

important than the laws or forms of government. longs to persons and to property.

Property

is

is less

Power

be-

merely the


NOTES obedience of nature to

human

moral quality of the persons

337

labor and follows of course the

who

and hold

create

With

it.

the progress of any society, with the cultivation of individuals,

forms become every day of

the existing

Every addition of good sense so

much of

consequence.

less

that a citizen acquires destroys

his opposition to the

laws of nature and the well-

being of society, and of course brings the power of his property on the side of justice. ship from the State

compels every

House

man

shame and remorse

Knowledge

to the reason

mount guard over

to

man

and puts

himself,

And we

and maces.

for sergeants

times and countries every great

all

transfers the censor-

of every citizen, and

does, in

all

find in

his nature,

point at and imply the existence and well-being of

He

orders and institutions of a state.

He

is

by

(how

inclination

is

full

far soever in position) the

of the grammar-school, the

all

the

of reverence. defender

almshouse, the holy day, the

church, the priest, the judge, the legislator, the executive

Throughout

arm.

cumstance arrayed

being

his

is

he

Such was Socrates,

St. Paul,

that

his private

is,

sons in

who

community around him

cir-

of things.

is

bringing

him ever

to post-

hold public

offices

and of course whilst

are doing the like, the per-

become mere

clerks

of business,

no sense the sovereigns of the people.

" It were

very

much

to

be wished that these laws drawn

from the nature of things could lar

when by

the universal good, to comport himself,

to

in his proper person, as a state,

the whole

even

Luther, Milton, Burke.

" The education of every man pone

loyal,

in opposition to the actual order

philosophy, that

at

least

all

become

a part

of the popu-

endeavors for the reform of

education or the reform of political opinion might be

where only they can have any of the

individual, for

it

was

avail, in

justly said

made

the speculative views

by Bacon

that the spec-


NOTES

338 and

in general

were the only

forty

The

men

of

ulative opinions

between the age of

philosophy of property,

would open new mines of

explored in

if

which has defamed to

ningest

were

man

own

their

its

that rottenness

until politic has

show

that the cun-

It

would

into ethics

made hath two

worth, and

also covers

penny represents cloth,

so

moth

its

Everything

it

much if so much

risk;

much

revenue,

danger;

much corn and wine

much mould or if so much

belongs to these commodities

as

property, then so

his honest labor

so

and enterprise

:

much power, then so then so much tax. When

if so

attract to

him

a great estate,

then his exertions stand over against his gains to

whole.

But could

his

covets the

pound and

that whilst each

represents so

also

dollar covers

The man who

evil.

know

much commodity,

of necessity

sourness and

Every cent in a

faces.

and touch

teach the subtle and inex-

compensation that attaches to property.

hath

come

the pretenders in that science

dupes; would

wealth of London should

and

ages reckoned

would go deep

It

man.

the relations of

God

wish without

his

make him

honest labor transfer

out of another' s vaults a million pounds sterling into his chest, so

will

and

would

also, against

fear concentrate

that might be it

felt.

come not by

man who

in

the

cannot cheat nature or do any wrong without

suffering the same.

tricable

would destroy

many

whole Science

the

mean cunning; would show

that they

all

It

foundations,

would purge

dissimulation, for so

the Capital art of Government.

its

wisdom, which would

practical

the event change the face of the world;

whole magazine of

thirty

sure source of political prophecy.

sees

fair

its

his wish, just

black rays on

him

All property must and will pay

means, then

the

it

own

so massive an

comes by

unerring compensations

themselves out in the world, will pay the state

ill

in darkness its

foul.

tax.

The

If

wise

which wotked its ftill

dividend


NOTES "And it

339

as in respect to property so also in respect to persons

ounce

takes an

an ounce; the

to balance

never an equivalent for the house of Be.

fair

house of Seem

Nor can

is

the loudest

Pretension supply the place of the smallest piece of Performance.

A

view of human nature would convince men

just

(how hard

of that truth

to learn) that

it

to the people followed in their office bitious but

pitifiil

by

man makes

would be

end;

all sorts

perhaps they

sit

pitifiilness quite

as

much

Am-

a nation's eye.

persons see them and think

alone that makes them great, and that chairs they to this

the

is

Alfred, Washington, Lafayette, appear half divine

the place.

if

they

it

the place

is

same

sat in the

All means are used

admired.

of shame accumulated; and by and by

make

in the high seat only to

bare to the view of

all

subtleness

and

men.

"In our own times, without satire, this mistake is so common that all society and government seems to be making believe, when we see such ignorant persons with a grave countenance taking their places as legislators and statesmen. could not be, but that real

men

intermixed, whose natural basis

the

sustain

men

paper

in

common

is

broad enough to

times, as

puts one iron rod in his banister to five or six

the carpenter

wooden

But inexorable time, which brings opportunity once

man, brings whether he

"The immense

by the

lar

last

every

man

the hour of

genuine, or whether he

The

Europe

in

and organization seems

skilful

is

trial to

to

prove him

of property

is

created without

with nature, and of course some

by the

population of the globe,

whom

the superiority of

to reside, has set at

hands that great wealth

ones.

every

counterfeit.

ages have been characterized in history

creation of property.

nations of western

intellect

many

also to is

This

throughout society there are

at intervals

is

some

added. direct

acquisition of

Now

work no

so

dol-

communication

knowledge and


NOTES

340 practical

The

power.

millions, not

by

creation of

property, and that

all this

a few, involves necessarily so

much

by

education

With power always comes

of the minds of the proprietors.

the consciousness of power, and therefore indomitable millions

have demanded forms of government more suited to the

Throughout Europe, throughout America, the

who

between those

who

claim

new

forms

at all

hazards, and those

Of course

prefer the old forms to the hazard of change.

on the whole

In London,

a steady progress of innovation.

is

they write on the fences,

'

Of what

In Spain and in Portugal, the hold out against the mob.

liberal

The

facts.

struggle exists

use are the Lords

'

?

monarchists can scarce

unsettled than that an ordinary

South American States are too

memory

can keep the run of

the powers that be.

" The era seems of

marked in many countries by the separation

power from

real

its

forms, and the continual interference of

the popular opinion between the executive and

unknovm

before

of

its

terrors,

in Paris,

and they

There

will be

" The struggle is

no revolution to-day,

of

affairs,

ideas.

and

The

also prevents the

make up

by

for

stripped

They

say

rains.

who

the worst,

always depraves

by the

best, but

weakness by

by

the

drive their private trade

on, take advantage of the march of the principle. vatives

it

is

war from being one purely

innovators are led not

boldest, and often

for

'

envenomed by the great admixture of igno-

rance and selfishness on both sides which

human

A levity

will.

its

The word ' Revolution may have many in a year.

follows.

vyiles

The

conser-

and oppose indiscrimi-

nately the good and evil measures of their antagonists.

Mean-

time Party, that bellowing hound that barks or fawns, that

defamer and bargainer and unreasoning facts Its

and blinds

all

whole aim ever

is

eyes. in

srfit

self-lover, distorts

all

Party counts popularity success. ihfi

hurrah nn mjr

f?V/>

Tt iufprfra


NOTES

341

from the bar-room and ward-caucus up,

the veins of the

all

even into literature and religion; and

state, stealing

every Party has written history for

in our age

Gibbon, Lingard,

itself as

Hume, Hallam, Mitford. if we rise above the hubbub of parties, and the uncovered selfishness of many of the actors, we shall see that Brodie,

" Meantime

humanity

is

always the gainer, that the production of property

has been the education of the producers, that the creation of so

many new

citizens, has

and peace, and hating war.

The

onists.

word

'

Trade and war

In our times,

International

made by

has been

made

said for the

it is

compact

national

supersede

and

armies

progress.

The

tion of the congress

between two right cause

by

and so

which

and the sympathy of

more purely

bribes to vanity

what

is

war

or at least aid the

in

any practicable shape, proves

The

mutual

helpfiilness

of na-

of each and the

in the projects

all

union and simpler

official,

such as

shall

legislation, at

a

not hold out such

and avarice.

" The philosopher tord of

are themselves a sure

by means of mechanical improvements

to point at stricter

legislation

is

to arbitrate controversies arising

to prevent

and Christianity.

continual approximation

seem

Mediation

projects with

the moral force of a decision, these are projects

the bare starting of civilization

The

black colony at Liberia, the proposi-

of nations

states,

progress

hindering offences

in

navies.

time, has

first

Some

been compounded.

'

which the minds of philanthropists teem,

tions

are always antag-

the world as piracy and kidnapping.

all

to

mark of

and propertied

progress of trade has been the death of war, uni-

to each other.

against

forcible

In these days nations have stretched out the hand

versally.

the

many

households and so

been the creation of lovers of order, knowledge

must console himself amidst the harsh

called politics

by the

reflection that

its

dis-

errors.


NOTES

342

of the planets, are periodic; that a firm bound

like the errors is

by counterchecks

set

man

in

every excess, that the dis-

to

which the events of every day

cipline

man, tend always

make him

to

and to make

him independent of the mutations of parties and Page 208,

As

note i.

by

the inventor

to every

adifinister

a better citizen,

states."

a mechanical device

shows man's previous stupid waste of energy, and the man of science

shows by

ing, so

Mr. Emerson held good men

Law

brought

this

the North, and this

is

home

question

infamy

in the air.

which

sation

home,

is

wake

I

I carry

the odious

all

State

morning with a

day, and which,

remembrance of

has fallen on Massachusetts.

said to his

I

that

have lived

of

is

painftil sen-

when

traced

ignominy which all

my

life

in this

and never had any experience of personal inconvenience

from the laws

1 8th, 18^0,

is

now.

until

discomfort before.

But

They

the

never came near

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a law which loss

of

no

self-respect

name of a gentleman." Page 21^, note i. Mr. Cabot,

in

man

the

giving an account of the lecture

in the manuscript,

decorum.

State I

among mere

my

can obey, or abet

and forfeiture of

Appendix F

"

and suppose

it

and Church guard

the

to his

Politics," printed

the following passage as omitted in the essay.

"The

to

a law which every one of you will break on

the obeying, without

Memoir,

me

Act of Congress of September

the earliest occasion,

it

man

Concord

There

into politics.

all

in the

about

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

:

year has forced us

last

duty of protest

to every brave

what Mr. Emerson

neighbors of the duty of the hour

" The

to their

Six years later the passage of the Fugitive

against unjust law.

Slave

of the church's teach-

his heresies the errors

I

cannot find

may have dropped their purlieus

out:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

with jealous

sometimes wonder where their books find readers mortals,

who must

sometimes laugh, and are ha-


NOTES Yet

ble to the infirmity of sleep.

and cannot be

tions

343

politics rest

Men

not numbers or force, but character.

comes from

force

this,

and

cation of men to do without

one day

It will

Character

do not

is

work

is

for myself.

but

fiilfils

proper character: the benefit to others

all

the edu-

the true theocracy.

-

The

Abof

fight

Leonidas, the hemlock of Socrates, the cross of Christ, personal sacrifice for others,

is

see that

government of the world.

suffice for the

solutely speaking, I can only

real founda-

of force

that the disuse it.

on

But the foundation

treated with levity.

not

is

a high necessity of his is

merely contingent."

Page 21^, note 2. In dealing with his children after they began to grow up, Mr. Emerson held to his theory. He did not

command

and

left

or forbid, but laid principles and facts before us

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

the case in our hands,

Page 2IS, note j.

" When

exception.

I talked

quality of taxes in the

with him one day of some ine-

town, he

whatever was demanded; ation large

said

it

Page 216,

as well

go in

this

had often been

When

his guest

.

.

as

any other."

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

grave, a

what epitaph

young man who

wrote suggesting that much of the

needs no library,"

Page 217,

way

the question arose

foregoing paragraph would be .

pay

his practice to

Lectures and Biographical Sketches.

note I.

upon the stone over Emerson's

to put

was

though he might think the tax-

for,

and very unequally proportioned, yet he thought

money might " Samuel Hoar,"

the

man

a helpfiil confidence.

His townsman. Squire Hoar, was an

fitting,

beginning

"The

wise

etc.

note I.

His

instant thought a poet spoke.

And filled the age his fame An inch of ground the lightning ;

But

"

lit

strook.

the sky with flame.

Fragments on the Poet," Poems, Appendix.


NOTES

344 Page 220, note I.

In an address prefixed to the

said

"

:

believe politics to be nowise accidental or excep-

but subject to the same laws with trees, earths and

tional,

acids.

We

num-

first

Mr. Emerson

ber of the Massachusetts ^arterly, in 1848,

'

Page 221, note i.

" fiiU

In the

of fate," instead of

first

" full

edition the

wording was

of faith."

NOMINALIST AND REALIST What Emerson

said in writing

of Plato

'

might, with

little

change, be said of himself and of his fairness in considering the

"famous

" The to join,

unity of Asia and the detail of Europe

and by contact

to

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

"

dispute of the Nominalists and Realists:

... he came

enhance the energy of each.

.

In short, a balanced soul was born, perceptive of the two ments.

...

If he loved abstract truth, he saved himself

propounding the most popular of

all

transcendental distinctions, he fortified himself his illustrations .

.

by

principles, the absolute

good, which rules rulers and judges the judge.

conversers;

.

ele-

If he

made

by drawing

all

from sources disdained by orators and pohte

.

.

from pitchers and soup-ladles,

.

.

.

the

shops of potters, horse-doctors, butchers, and fish-mongers.

He

cannot forgive in himself a partiahty, but

the

two

The

is

resolved that

poles of thought shall appear in his statement."

wise

men

of the East and the Greek philosophers, and

poets everywhere, spoke to Emerson, and in

them he joyfully

recognized his instinctive behef in the Soul-Universal, and in living

Law.

brilliant

On

the other hand, he

was born

into the hard

and

daylight of America in the youth of the nineteenth '

Representati've

Men,


NOTES While by sympathy

century.

345

a Realist,

he admired the courage

and performance of the Nominalist, if only he would take the next

step.

This essay does not appear

Even

to

have been given

as a lecture.

motto Mr. Emerson recognizes both the

in the short

and the happiness and privilege of the

ideal archetype

indi-

vidual.

Page 22§, upon him

note I.

In

his

what she

for

is less

Ode has

which Beauty has

the hold

shown him than

as a

Lavish, lavish Promiser.

Page 226, bly

in

note i.

The

example.

This

is

true in the

body

Mr. Emerson's head

the face.

who made good

sculptors

also,

and nota-

fornishes a portraits

marked

of him

Daniel Chester French, whose fine bust represents him in

H. Morse, who made an

serene age, and Sidney

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; his

excellent

statuette bust

of him in

work of both

the face has a very different expression accord-

ing to the side looked

his

at,

prime

recognized

this.

In the

one representing Emerson the thinker

and speaker, the other Emerson among

his friends.

Page 2J0, note I. He foresaw truly. Four years later in England he found good men and customs and results, but falling far short of the ideal English men and institutions. Yet he chose rather tendencies.

to look at

And

in

and give them

America,

six

credit for their best

years later, Webster, an

idol of his youth, turned his back

on the

stood for in the minds of the best

New

ideals that

he had

England, yet for a

time was supported by Northern people.

Page 231,

note I.

This contest occupied the Church and

the universities from the Realists,

end of the ninth century down; the

with the motto Vniversalia ante rem (or

in re').


NOTES

346

supporting revelation of law to the mind, but, as churchmen

The " proved

rather than philosophers, less broadly than the ancients.

Nominahsts studied man and nature in the individual, all

things," and generalized later,

and wrere the party of

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

JJniversalia post rem,

The

and advance.

criticism

mation and modern science drew their

from

strength

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Reforthis

class.

Page 231,

Comparing

note 2.

has said elsewhere,

"

on the words

it is

clear that

Page 232,

Never

itahcize.

Sketches.

Page 233, note I. Journal, 1839. than Southey or Scott, therefore writing.

Could

be no nearer

Olympiad. '

Come

to

I write as I

I say,

Plutarch

there

is

me

fits

no age

better

to

good

would, I suppose the piece would fiftieth

thought, however expressed, saith to us,

out of time

come

;

note 2.

unless for a ballad

The

"

Boston in 1839 than to Athens in the

Good

Page 233,

little

invari-

Compare "Aristocracy," Lectures

note i.

and Biographical

sentence with what he

Mr. Emerson's almost

have been."

able rule in writing was.

this

he would have dwelt a

to

me

in the Eternal.

Mr. Emerson had no

' '

ear for music,

sung with expression, and by

a

woman.

wild music of nature and the wind singing in the ^olian

harp in his

window

spoke to him, as

Yet he was interested in

it,

scientific

music did not.

and occasionally liked

to

go to a

concert.

Page 235, note i. When all the competing reforms and were urged on him, instead of accepting or rejecting,

theories

he considered them calmly, and

Humble-bee,

to

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

his practice

was,

Leave the chaff and take the wheat.

like

his


NOTES Page 2j6,

Saw And And Saw

347

note i.

the endless rack of the firmament.

moon where the cloud was man and woman and sea and

the sailing

rent.

through

star

the dance of Nature forward and

"The Page 236,

far.

Poet," Poems, Appendix.

His reconciliation of two views here

note 2.

considered.

Page 238, scientific

monarch of wonderful

Castile

'

in the

literary, legal

and

achievement, whose criticism of Nature's ways was

by Emerson among

versified

to

Alphonso X. , King of

note i.

thirteenth century, a

have said that, had

God

world, he would have

some influence

his early

made

in bringing us

symbolized by hellebore

at

is

reported

making of the

in the

differently.

it

down

He

poems.

him

consulted

Nature's wholeour

to earth after

flights is

the bottom of her draught, because

the ancients found hellebore quieted the insane.

It is said that

the philosophers drank hellebore to clear their brains before

Whether

intellectual labor.

trum,

still

Page answer

was

this

used as a heart-sedative, Evolution

24.0, note I.

Sphinx's question,

to the

is is

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

true

helleborus or vera-

uncertain.

thus condensed into an

The fate of the man-child. The meaning of man ? Page 240,

note 2.

Three communities then

recently estab-

lished.

Page 241, ington AUston.

note i.

"

Plato

lover, wife, or children, I

See

From

"The

Paint-King," by Wash-

had no external biography.

we hear

A History of Spain, by

nothing of them.

Ulick Ralph Burke,

If he had

He ground

M. A.


NOTES

348 them

This simile in Representative

into paint."

all

Mr. Emerson no doubt owed to Page 242, note I. Compare on Life "

in the

You Page 242,

man

Appendix

shall

not love

note 2.

sees the beauty

the lines in the

to the

me

for

As Nature

of one

"Fragment

Poems beginning what

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

daily spends.

presents different facets

at a time, so as a writer

and

Emerson

Hence his remarks in "

reported on one aspect at a time.

Reliance" on a

Men

the line he quotes above.

Self-

foolish consistency.

Page 24^, note i. This is a harsh statement of the looseness with which a growing man should hold his beliefs of the day.

In

this

very connection an instance can be given of

bravely sincere

Mr. Emerson was.

how

While temporarily preach-

ing in East Lexington, he introduced into his discourse leaves

from a sermon written a few years before while he was a Boston minister.

In delivering

said to his hearers,

not

now

it,

he suddenly stopped and quietly

" The sentence which

I have just read I

do

believe," turned the page, and went on.

Page 248, note i. These were the good Englishmen that Mr. Alcott brought home with him, and who joined in the Fruitlands experiment.

Though they came

in spite of

Emerson's warning, they weighed rather heavily upon

Mr. his

mind, but they were not of his kind.

NEW ENGLAND REFORMERS The

Society which

met

1848 was the Church of the Freeman Clarke was the

at

Amory

Hall from

Disciples, of

1 841 to which Rev. James

minister.

In the period of the Awakening in

New

England those


NOTES who

349

influence wished to join others with

felt its

them

in help-

movements, and zealously urged organization;

fill

schemes which they

be of

felt to

first

but the

importance varied with

the individual temperament or need, and the individual was

man.

take counsel of no

to

and generous were eagerly measures

for the regeneration

reputed high-minded

Persons

assailed

by competing advocates of

of man, varying much

wisdom, and usually woefully

their

in

Mr. Emerson

partial.

stood

rather for the Individual than for organization, believing that

common mind of men would

the universal or

His

latter.

that

hospitality to thought,

he had means and influence, drew

his door, sure

that

he would

take care of the

however, and the beUef all

the reformers to

that they brought the

see

one

thing needfiil, and join in proclaiming this newest and best gospel.

Already in 1840 he had spoken on

the course

on The Present Age, and

had said a good word

"Man

for

the

"Reforms"

in

the following year

in

Reformer"

before the

Boston Mercantile Library Association.

This essay shows well his

time and sympathy,

over-freely

his

character.

his patience

and

drawn upon by the wise and

Although his

for years

power, had been

the foolish, he hon-

ored and defended such wisdom and courage, or even trace

of

it,

as

Many

each brought.

sentable, rude

and

Nature, and almost

tedious all

;

of these pilgrims were unpre-

few had any eyes and heart

for

were without any sense of humor. But

Mr. Emerson's high hope for man, if only some leaven of the Spirit were in him, made him gracious and forbearing to the " monotones," and welcome the wise and brave. So he treats his subject hopefiilly,

and even the

a characteristically light

mor and Mr. George I

J.

W.

&

with good hu-

Cooke,' speaking of the charge made

Ralph Waldo Emerson,

R. Osgood

absurdities

hand.

Co., 1881.

its Life,

Writings, and Philosophy.

Boston,


NOTES

3SO Mr. Emerson of

against

says

reforms, vice

and

up

defect, dry

would

evils

neglect and undervaluing

" He would

:

at

that fountain,

of

great moral

and

special

the very centre of

and then

all

the lesser

all

His method may be wrong, but

cease.

method of every

aim

it is

the

religious teacher that the

world has known."

Yet Mr. Emerson was sympathy, and

were over,

a

"And

want of

troubled at his

little

asks, after these strange

and noisy conventions

where were the men of genius whilst

these

coarse missionaries were making odious the high doctrines of

temperance, love and the

life

broached in solemn hymns

?

of nature which they had Alas,

...

I

first

saw them each

taking himself in charge to keep himself silent nor plague the

world longer with the harsh counsel of reform, drugging and quieting,

how

he best could, the nerves that were once harp-

on which every sun-beam played music."

strings

The motto

did not appear in the

first

edition.

recall

a fragment of verse printed in the

Poems

:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

The Looks

archangel

Its last lines

Appendix

to the

Hope

to the azure cope.

Waits through dark ages

for the

mom.

Defeated day by day, but unto victory bom.

Page 2^1,

was 1

called

840 and

note i.

The " Chardon

Street

Convention

by the "Friends of Universal Progress lasted three days.

the same year.

seen through

him.

It is

Mr. Emerson's

printed in Lectures note i.

in domestic chemistry,

"

early in

was followed by two more

In the Dial an amusing account of

sion,

Page 252,

It

"

eyes,

this

occa-

was published

and Biographical

b)

Sketches.

Mrs. Emerson, with her ready

interest

which she learned from her brother


NOTES

351

Dr. Charles T. Jackson, no doubt supplied ment.

Page 252,

The

note 2.

dicapped in getting

Community was han-

Fruitlands

support from

its

its

abhorrent;

all

by

lean acres

Cattle must not be enslaved; animal

theories.

good argu-

this

its

manure was

must be done by man-power when

cultivation

time could be spared from contemplation and high discussion; insects

must not be murdered.

Meat,

milk,

poultry,

fish,

cheese, butter, honey, eggs, as food, and wool and feathers

were unlawful, because obtained by

or bedding,

as clothing

wrongs done

to

the

animal creation;

leavened bread and

fermented drinks were poisonous; cane-sugar, molasses,

and

and cotton

spice,

Such

labor.

grain

for clothing,

and

fruits

manure, and wild nuts and

were products of

could be

as

without

raised

and maple sugar, must

berries

nish the food, and linen the raiment, for these

fiir-

good but over-

knows no law, prevented

Necessity, which

refining people.

rice,

slave-

their carrying these rules quite to extremes.

Page 2JJ, cannot

New

fi'om grace

fall

The

note i.

early days of the

Antinomians,

nor

are not really

consequently they have no need to confess their

them

off

troubled the

that, as the elect

the divine favor, any wicked

forfeit

which they may commit

actions

who

England colony, held

sinfiil,

sins or to

and

break

by repentance.

Page 2^4, note i. This parable, written in Mr. Emerson's journal, was suggested by the views advanced by his visitors :

'

'

You

forth

O

ask,

from

this

Theanor,

said

palace with

Amphitryon,

my wife

and your family may enter and in substance has

persons. forth

Now

to

I also think that I

from the house and work

all

should go

and children, and that you

possess

been often made

that I

it.

me and

day

The same

before

my

request

by numbers of

wife ought to go

in the fields,

and

lie at


NOTES

352 night under

some

some god

until

am waiting where I am only me which among all these

thicket, but I

shall point out to

applicants, yourself or

some other,

is

the rightfiil claimant."

Page 2^3, note i. In the previous year Thoreau, Alcott, and Lane (his English friend) had been arrested for refusal on

Mr. Sanborn

conscientious grounds to pay their taxes.

Memoir of Alcott

son the following testimony of the

" When

grounds of refusal: .

my

.

.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; what

believe

it

of the law as to the

Staples (the deputy-sheriff)

came

Helen asked him what he thought Mr. Alcott

sister

meant,

officer

in his

Emer-

quotes from a letter of Thoreau to

his idea

was,

was nothing but

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and he answered,

I

'

vum,

principle, for I never heard a

I

man

"

talk honester.'

Page 2^6,

note I.

The

Non-Resistant newspaper was

started in Boston five years before this time.

William Lloyd Garrison,

Its editors

were

Edmund Quincy, and Mrs. Maria

Chapman. Page 2^6,

note 2.

Among

trinaires that thronged the

Palmer,

who

the active and interesting doc-

ways

in

those days

was Edward

wrote a book to show that money was the root

of evil and urged the abolishment of property, each person serve others

by

exercising his

to his name the words money," and for a time held

added

Mr. Cabot ing

:

" We may

"who

has nothing to do with

very well and honestly have theoretical and to

it;

barter, let us

have done with

breathe it."

to

the title-page he

stoutly to this abstinence.

if

they are

disuse

them;

than the inconvenience of abolishing to

On

Memoir (pp. 415, 416) quotes, among Mr. Emerson's upon money, the follow-

objections

money and

gift.

in his

other writings of

practical

own

it

fatal

if

to

the

they are

traffic, let

use of

less

grave

us not pretend

whilst wre eat and drink and

wear and


NOTES Page 260, the schools.

the rell

American

The

note i.

Five years Institute

spirit

Commonwealth

of Instruction, headed by George Bar-

how

legislature

aside other

laid

the then wretched schools of the

could be improved, and chose Horace

then president of the Senate, the secretary of the

of Education.

in

of a memorial of

earlier, as a result

Emerson, the Massachusetts

business to consider

353

of the times was working

His zeal and extreme devotion

days was regenerating the schools.

Mann,

new Board

in these very

It is

remarkable to find in

this essay suggestions for object-teaching

and field-work, and

some

of the

and

and cridcism of the mediaeval

election in studies, classics,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

ideas

which hardly took root

Yet Mr. Emerson

colleges until twenty-five years later.

prized the classics:

was neglect of their beauty

it

rating

in the schools

in too

much

gerund-grinding that disgusted him;

Page 261,

With

note i.

entire faith in the

power of

better to quietly displace the worse, if opposition

aroused, he prized an earnest priest

row

denier.

Once

more than a coarse

after a conversation at

which a

the

were not or nar-

radical

had

explained that the death of Jesus might have been simulated

and planned beforehand thereafter

"

band,

that?"

for

kept in hiding,

effect

Mrs.

on the people, and he

Emerson

said

to

her hus-

Should you have liked to have the children hear

"No,"

he answered, "it

is

odious to have

lilies

pulled up and skunk-cabbages planted in their places."

Page 264,

note i.

West Roxbury

New

(see

England,"

Hopedale

in

"

The

communities

at

Brook Farm in

Historic Notes of Life and Letters

Lectures

and Biographical

m

Sketches), at

Worcester County, founded by the Rev. Adin

Ballou, and probably that at Northampton, as the Fruitlands

experiment, had already

failed.

These communities are often alluded to in the Dial, espe-


NOTES

354 daily Brook Farm.

may

Interesting accounts of

them by members

be found in Hawthorne's writings, and in the volumes

of the Atlantic, Century, and Overland Monthly magazines.

Page 264,

Mr. Emerson's doubts were

note 2.

justified.

Speaking of the material of these communities, he said:

new

reformers were of a

"These

Instead of the fiery souls of

class.

the Puritans, bent on hanging the Quaker, burning the witch,

and banishing the Romanist, these were gentle peacefiil

and even genial

on Fourier and

souls

dispositions, casting sheep's eyes

with even

his houris."

Page 261 , note i. A part of this page was taken from the on " Politics," to the teaching of which it is akin.

lecture

Page 26p, genius

is

This distinction between

note i.

made by him

Page 2^2,

in

many

heavens that

With Once

He

now draw him

sweetness untold.

found,

for

new

heavens

spurneth the old.

"The I

and

note i.

The

Page 213,

talent

places.

Sphinx," Poems.

note i.

serve

you not,

Shadow -like

if

o'er

"

you

hill

I follow

and hollow,

Etienne de

la

etc.

Boece," Poems.

Page 2J4, note I. Mr. Emerson dealt with this mood poems «' Alphonso of Castile " and "Blight."

in

the

Page 2^4,

note 2.

This phrase comes from a fragment of

Pindar, in the older English version of Plutarch's Morals, ren-

dered,

iron."

bound

" Tread

the floors of Hell with necessities as hard as

Professor

Goodwin's

to the floors," etc.

translation gives

it,

"We

Consolation to Afollonitts.

are


NOTES Page 274,

355

note j.

Postquam

modum

Bacchoque

epulis

lassata voluptas

Imposuit, longis Cssar producere noctem

Inchoat adloquiis summaque in sede iacentem

Linigerum '

O

Non

dictis: astas,

neclecte deis, Phariae primordia gentis

Terrarumque Et

Achorea

placidis conpellat

devote senex, quodque arguit

sacris

ritus

situs

volgique edissere mores

formasque deum; quodcunque vetustis

Insculptum

est adytis, prefer

Prode decs.

noscique volentes

Cecropium sua

Si

sacra Platona

umquam

Maiores docuere

tui, quis

Hoc

mundique capacior hospes

fuit auditu,

Fama quidem Sed tamen

dignior

me

generi Pharias

et vestri;

media

?

duxit ad urbes,

inter prcelia

semper

Stellarum coelique plagis superisque vacavi.

Nee meus Eudoxi

vincetur fastibus annus.

Sed cum tanta meo vivat sub pectore Tantus amor

Quam

fluvii

virtus

quod noscere malim

veri, nihil est,

causas per sascula tanta latentis

Ignotumque caput; spes

mihi certa videndi

sit

Niliacos fontes: bellum civile relinquam.'

Lucan,

Page 2y6,

note i.

tion

of persons which

and

" Manners."

Page 277,

note i.

Here is

is

De

Bella Civili, Lib. X.

the reaction from the intoxica-

told of in the

The

material aid

poems

" The Park"

which Mr. Emerson

gave unasked to supply the manifest need of some of his

uaUy-minded

guests,

stimulus to thought

The

labourer

he held

slight in

which he

was worthy of his

spirit-

comparison with the

often found in their society. hire.


NOTES

356 Page

note i. This was Mr. Edmund Hosmer.

Page 280, Emerson

"The

always the same

Mr.

his addresses to students

men

relation of

of thought to society

is

they refuse that necessity of mediocre men,

;

They

to take sides.

path

In one of

note i.

said,

farmer-

philosophic

his

2'jg,

neighbor,

keep their

own

The

equilibrium.

sun's

never parallel to the equator."

is

Page 280, chapter

See Montaigne's Essays, Book III.,

note 2.

On

i. ,

Utility

and Honesty.

Plutarch relates that Alexander the Great sent Onesecritus, a disciple of Diogenes, to the Indian sages life,

desire

to

haughty,

them

to

come

who

Dandamis behaved with

but

lived a retired

Some of them were

to him.

" When

civility.

Onesecritus had given him an account of Pythagoras, Socra-

and Diogenes, he

tes

said,

'

They

men

appear to have been

of genius, but to have lived with too passive a regard for the Others say Dandamis entered into no discourse vidth

laws.'

the messenger, but only asked so long a journey.'

Page 281, Emerson

note I.

relates that,

a

know he was

— him —

so fine a

if

father should

fail

all

delighted

the

be well."

cynicism of the philosopher.

penury

.

.

in the

did not will

fall

his class, or his

some other misfortune can Dr. Hale adds: at

But

eight years old his father .

sympathy

" Yes," was the answer, " I fellow. And now if something

in business, or if

will

Ralph Waldo

they both were

Cambridge exhibition, he ad-

green enough to be inwardly indignant

when he was

his

he should be unpopular with

out amiss

the

Alexander had taken

whom

youth in

Mr. Emerson, expecting

young man's triumph.

befall

Why

Rev. Dr. Hale in

when

interested took high honors at a

dressed

'

"

of those early days

I

did not

to

his

to

know

had died, and

"I

what seemed

was

me that

that to

mother's de-


NOTES

357

termination that the boy should be bred at Harvard College, to

by which each penny was made

the careful struggles

by

the miracles of the broken bread

owed

.

.

much of

.

to

the Sea of Galilee

the vigor, the rigor and the

work

— he

manhood of

his life."

Page 282,

Mr. Emerson

note i.

took especial delight in

the noble passage to this purpose, in Scott's

where the Abbot Bruce

:

in vain

lay his

tries to

Lord of the Isles, ban upon Robert

De Bruce I rose with purpose dread To speak my curse upon thy head. And give thee, as an outcast, o'er To him who burns to shed thy gore !

:

But,

Midianite of old.

like the

Who

stood on

I feel

within mine aged breast

A

power

De

that

Zophim, heaven

wiU not be

controlled,

repressed.

Bruce, thy sacrilegious blow

Hath

God's

at

thy foe

altar slain

;

O'ermastered yet by high behest,

and thou

I bless thee,

Page 283,

note i.

And

shalt

Compare

conscious

Law

be blest

!

the hnes in the Poems, is

king of kings.

"Woodnotes,"

The

patient

With

He

Dsmon

roses

hath his

But ours

is

II.

sits

and a shroud

way and

;

deals his gifts,

not allowed.

"The

World-Soul."


NOTES

358 Page 284,

note i.

"Let

a

man's

tioned to his means and power.

1

social

aims be propor-

do not pity the misery of a

man underplaced that will right itself presently but I pity A certain quantity of power belongs to a the man overplaced. Whoever wants more power than certain quantity of faculty. ;

is

;

the legitimate attraction of his faculty,

pay

for that excess;

Lectures

must truckle

and Biographical

is

a pohtician, and must

for it."

Sketches.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; "Aristocracy,"


Electrotyped and printed by

H.

O.

Houghton Sf

Cambridge, Mass, U.S. A.

9

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