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INSIGHT INTO MEANING OF NATURE

But it carves the bow of beauty there,
And the ripples in rhymes the oar forsake.
The wood is wiser far than thou;

The wood and wave each other know

Not unrelated, unaffied,

But to each thought and thing allied,
Is perfect Nature's every part,
Rooted in the mighty Heart.

Behind thee leave thy merchandise,
Thy churches and thy charities;
And leave thy peacock wit behind;
Enough for thee the primal mind

That flows in streams, that breathes in wind;

Leave all thy pedant lore apart;

God hid the whole world in thy heart.

All the forms are fugitive,

But the substances survive.
Ever fresh the broad creation,

A divine improvisation,
From the heart of God proceeds,

A single will, a million deeds.28

There are snatches and bursts of melody in the midst of tame and rambling verse, such as:

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BURSTS OF MELODY

Brother, sweeter is the Law
Than all the grace Love ever saw;
We are its suppliants. By it, we
Draw the breath of Eternity.31

For the prevision is allied
Unto the thing so signified;
Or say, the foresight that awaits
Is the same Genius that creates.32

The sun set, but set not his hope:-
Stars rose, his faith was earlier up:
Fixed on the enormous galaxy,
Deeper and older seemed his eye,
And matched his sufferance sublime
The taciturnity of Time.3

"Tis not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cup of budding flowers,
Nor in the redbreast's mellow tone,
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers,
But in the mud and scum of things
There alway, alway something sings."

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What Emerson says of Goethe we may well apply to himself:

Is he hapless who can spare

In his plenty things so rare?

With his view that man is immediately inspired by God, Emerson may be expected to be an apostle of human freedom. And so he is, if we look at man in the abstract, for individual men did not seem to him so worthy of his notice.

On prince or bride no diamond stone
Half so gracious ever shone,

As the light of enterprise

Beaming from a young man's eyes.

35

31" The Poet."

34 Music."

32" Fate."
35 Translations.

33 The Poet."

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APOSTLE OF ABSTRACT FREEDOM

Ever in the strife of your own thoughts
Obey the nobler impulse; that is Rome:
That shall command a senate to your side;
For there is no might in the universe

That can contend with love. It reigns forever.

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The "Boston Hymn," read in the Music Hall, January 1, 1863, is a stirring eulogy of American liberty:

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EMERSON NOT A CONTROVERSIALIST

Come, East and West and North,
By races, as snow-flakes,

And carry my purpose forth,

Which neither halts nor shakes.

My will fulfilled shall be,

For, in daylight or in dark,

My thunderbolt has eyes to see

His way home to the mark.

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He wrote an "Inscription for a Well in Memory of the Martyrs of the War":

Fall, stream, from Heaven to bless; return as well;
So did our sons; Heaven met them as they fell.

Though love repine, and reason chafe,
There came a voice without reply,-
"Tis man's perdition to be safe,

When for the truth he ought to die.' "0

But conflict was not our poet's native air. He was no reasoner and no controversialist. It took him a long time to realize that secession and rebellion in our Southern States must be put down. It has sometimes been said that he was never angry, and his unvarying serenity has been used to disparage our Lord's denunciations of Scribes and Pharisees. Such praise is virtual condemnation; for real love for the good is inseparable from indignation against the evil. The true God is not indifferent to moral relationshe is a God of fearful justice, of awful purity, of searching love, and holiness is fundamental in his being. Frothingham, in his "Transcendentalism in New England," intimates that Emerson was not devoid of indignation against wrong, and tells us that he could

40"Sacrifice."

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SWEETNESS AND BENIGNITY

imitate Jesus' doom of the barren fig tree. He certainly denounced Daniel Webster and spoke of that "filthy Fugitive Slave Law," which Webster commended to New England. When Sumner was smitten, he said, "I think we must get rid of slavery, or we must get rid of freedom." But such wrath was exceedingly rare. Henry James remarks that Emerson "never caught a glimpse of the cherubim and the flaming sword, but put forth his hand direct to the tree of life." Sweetness and benignity characterized his common demeanor. He moved among men as one whose head was in the clouds, and who was oblivious of the petty jangling and contention of sublunary affairs. He dealt with principles rather than with details, with pure rather than with applied science. "I live wholly from within," he said. John Morley classes him with Rousseau, Robespierre, and Carlyle, as "beginning with sentiment and ignoring reason"; as having "great feeling for right, but also great contempt for the only instruments by which we can make sure what right is." And we may add that Emerson would have been less tranquil, but more useful, if he had recognized an external divine revelation. He saw "no urgent necessity for Heaven's last revelation, since the laws of morality had been written before, and philosophy had lively dreams of immortality.” Here we see that our poet conceived of Christianity, not as God's gift of pardon for the violation of law, nor as God's gift of power to obey law, but solely as an ethical philosophy which throws men back upon their own insight and ability—a sorry resource for a convicted sinner.

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