Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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as sad lumbering work ; and hasten to my little
heaven, if it is then accessible, as angels might.
For these social affections also are part of Na-
ture and being, and the delight in another's
superiority is, as Aunt Mary said, "my best gift
from God." For here the moral nature is in-
volved, which is higher than the intellectual.

222 JOURNAL [Age 64

The new knowledge is nothing but the old
knowledge new vamped and painted.

" The illusion of knowing." [Junt Mary.)


[Mr. Emerson records the following guests
from oversea who visited him during the

September 11. Mr. H. Lee Warner, of St.
John's College, Cambridge, England.

October. Viscount and Lady Amberley.

November 23 . Mr. Co wper, Earl Morley, and
Lord Camperdown with letter from Froude.
Hon. Mr. Stratt and Mr. J. R. Holland with
letter from Mrs. Ward. Rev. Leslie Stephen
and his wife, who is Thackeray's daughter.

[Notwithstanding the first two months of the
year having been spent in the West, lecturing,
Mr. Emerson's calls carried him again thither
in the last month. Beginning in Erie, Pennsyl-
vania, on the 5 th, before the New Year came in
he had spoken in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Mis-
souri. He fulfilled his engagements at all sac-
rifice of comfort and even at serious risk, as
this extract from a letter written to his family
shows : — ]


December 17.
Yesterday morning in bitter cold weather I
had the pleasure of crossing the Mississippi in

a skifF with Mr. , we the sole passengers,

and a man and a boy for oarsmen, I have no
doubt they did their work better than the Har-
vard six could have done it, as much of the
rowing was on the surface of fixed ice, in fault
of running water. But we arrived without other
accident than becoming almost fixed ice our-
selves; but the long run to the Tepfer House,
the volunteered rubbing of our hands by the
landlord and clerks, and good fire restored us.'

Authors or Books quoted or referred to
IN Journal for 1867

Bhagavat Geeta; Vishnu Purana; Lycurgus;
Solon; Pythagoras; Confucius; Pindar; iEs-
chy lus, Seven against Thebes ; Socrates ; Aristotle ;
Euclid of Alexandria; Archimedes; Caesar;

Martial ; Marcus Aurelius ; Dante ; Luther ;
Kepler; De Thou, Historia Sui Temporis;
Casaubon; Calvin; Van Helmont;

I It should be remembered that Mr. Emerson was sixty-
four years old.

224 JOURNAL [Age 64

Sir Kenelm Digby ; Clarendon ; La Roche-
foucauld ; George Fox ; Bossuet ; Spinoza ;
Newton; Leibnitz;

Linnseus; Diderot; Winckelmann ; Collins,
Ode to Evening; Kant; Lessing; Washington;
Hester Lynch Piozzi, Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson;
Anna Letitia Barbauld; Goethe; Benjamin
Thompson (Count Rumford) ;

Charles Butler, Reminiscences ; Thomas Tay-
lor ; Belzoni ; Calhoun; Buckminster; Chan-
ning;SirW. 'E.'P^irrj, Arctic Voyages ; Everett;
Edward Taylor ; Gerrit Smith ; Michelet, Bible
de r humanity ; Alcott ;

Bushnell; Sainte-Beuve ; Agassiz ; Holmes;
Tennyson ; Asa Gray ; Charles Kingsley ;
Beecher; Edwin H. Chapin; Thomas W. Par-
sons, Translation oi Inferno; Matthew Arnold,
On Translating Homer; Ruskin; Max Miiller,
Tbe Science of Language; Gold win Smith, Life
of Pym.

















(From Journals LN and NY)

J'ai pris la vie par le cote poetique.

Franz Woepke.

[As usual, Mr, Emerson lectured, near and afar,
during the winter and in the spring, but just what
the tour was does not clearly appear. During his
absence his brother William, who had lost his
wife, and was now very feeble, came from New
York to consult a Boston physician and was a
guest for some time at his brother's house. He
returned to New York, where he died in Sep-

(From LN)

Sometimes you must speak, if only as Aunt
Mary told me, when I was a boy, and quarrelled
with Elisha Jones and Frank Barrett. Dr. Ripley
sent for them one evening to come to the house,
and there made us shake hands : Aunt Mary
asked me, "Well, what did you say to them?"
" I did not say anything." — " Fie on you ! you
should have talked about your thumbs, or your
toes, only to say something."

228 JOURNAL [Age 64

Admirable chapter of Harriet Martineau, in
her Eastern Life, Present and Past,vo\.\, p. 230.
One would think it had never been read, or
that the minds of the readers had been instantly
dipped in Lethe. It needs instant republica-
tion, and the advertisement to be cried in the
churches. It plays into my chapter of " Quota-
tion " to find this necessity of repetition. If
man takes any step, exerts any volition, initiates
anything, no matter what, it is law of fate that
another man shall repeat it, shall simply echo it.
The Egyptian legend got this tyrannical cur-
rency ; ploughed itself into the Hebrew captives.

Free "trade. I have no knowledge of trade
and there is not the sciolist who cannot shut my
mouth and my understanding by strings of facts
that seem to prove the wisdom of tariffs. But
my faith in freedom of trade, as the rule, re-
turns always. If the Creator has made oranges,
coffee, and pineapples in Cuba, and refused
them to Massachusetts, I cannot see why we
should put a fine on the Cubans for bringing
these to us, — a fine so heavy as to enable Massa-
chusetts men to build costly palm-houses and
glass conservatories, under which to coax these
poor plants to ripen under our hard skies, and


thus discourage the poor planter from sending
them to gladden the very cottages here. We
punish the planter there and punish the con-
sumer here for adding these benefits to life.

Tax opium, tax poisons, tax brandy, gin,
wine, hasheesh, tobacco, and whatever articles of
pure luxury, but not healthy and delicious food.

Beauty unequally bestowed ; — Yes, but the
highest beauty is that of expression, and the
same man is handsome or ugly as he gives
utterance to good or base feeling. I noticed,
the other day, that when a man whom I had al-
ways remarked as a handsome person was vent-
ing Democratic politics, his whole expression
changed, and became mean and paltry.

That is. Nature distributed vulgar beauty
unequally, as if she did not value it ; but the
most precious beauty she put in our own hands,
that of expression.

Norton read, the other night, in his lecture,
the decree of the Commune of Florence for the
rebuilding of the Cathedral, but wholly without
eifect, from the omission (perhaps the scorn) of
emphasis. It should be read with the cry of a

230 JOURNAL [Age 64

" Each supreme," says Harriet Martineau
of the statues of the Egyptian gods. And why
not ? and men also, as the sky is perfect and the
sea ; porphyry and marble and iron and bronze,
each is perfect and best in its place to the archi-
tect, and Roman cement under the sea, and
wood and glass.

A banker, Mr. Manger, told me that such is
the promise of the investments of the under-
takers of the Pacific Railroad, that vaster for-
tunes will be made in this country than were
ever amassed by private men : that men now
alive will perhaps come to own a thousand mil-
lions of dollars. 'T is well that the Constitution
of the United States has forbidden entails, and
the only defence of the people against this pri-
vate power is from Death the Distributor.

I have lately had repeated occasion to regret
the omission to ask questions — while there was
yet time — of persons who alone could answer
them ; and now that these are dead, there is
none living who can give me the information.
To have been so easily near the witnesses, and
to have neglected an opportunity which now the
whole world could not restore !


I wish the American poet should let old times
go and write on Tariff, Universal Suffrage,
Woman's Suffrage ; Science shall not be abused
to make guns. The poet shall bring out the
blazing truth that he who kills his brother com-
mits suicide. The gold was not hid in the Black
Mountains that one man should own it all.
The telegraph shall be open as writing is to all
men. The grape is fertile this year that men
may be genial and gentle, and make better laws,
and not for their set alone. Thus shall the har-
vest of 1868 be memorable. The laws shall
sternly hold men to their best, and fools shall
not be allowed to administer what requires all
the wisdom of the wisest.

I read with interest this line in the second
Book of Herodotus, " The Egyptians are the
first of mankind who have defended the im-
mortality of the Soul."

Extremes meet, and there is no better exam-
ple than the haughtiness of humility. No aris-
tocrat, no porphyrogenite, can begin to com-
pare with the self-respect of the saint. Aunt
Mary in her vision of her place in heaven looks
very coolly at her " Divine Master." " I ap-

232 JOURNAL [Age 64

proached no nearer the person of my Divine
Master — but the Infinite must forever and
ever surround me. I had too proud a spirit, too
elate, too complacent from constitution, maybe,
ever to have that affinity to Jesus which his
better, holier ones have."

It is simply the consciousness, however yet
obscure and undefined, of resting on Deity,
that destroys all other divinities, or so-called
divinities, and can well afford to be disgraced
and degraded in their presence.

Among the men who fulfil the part of the
American Gentleman, I place gladly Theodore
Lyman, who went in a right spirit to the War,
and who now works so faithfully and benefi-
cently in this charge of establishing the pisci-
culture in Massachusetts.'

I understood Dr. C. T. Jackson in talk yes-
terday to say that the balloon can never be
relied on as a machine for travel, since the at-
tempt to resist the wind and sail against it will
tear the balloon to pieces; that there must be

I Colonel Theodore Lyman, of Brookline, a handsome,
spirited and accomplished young officer on the staff of General
Meade, after the war became a worker and helper of Agassiz
at his Museum in Cambridge.


wings invented to fly against the wind ; and
that guncotton which is so light, and, especially,
which does not soil the barrel, is the best force yet
found. The reliance on a permanent west wind
in the upper region of the atmosphere may. hold
only over the land, and not over the sea. In the
region of the trade-winds, the balloon may be ap-
plicable. The project has ceased to be presump-
tuous, since the ocean telegraph has become a fact.

What a divine beneficence attaches to Andrew
Johnson ! In six troubles, and in seven, he has
been an angel to the Republican party, deliver-
ing them out of their distresses.

"The eye altering alters all." The saint, with
grand healthy perception, in the atheism of
Byron reads the ciphers of Eternity, finds in
heathen fables and mythology the veiled truths
of theism. A great cosmical intellect is indiffer-
ent to the arts, may easily look at them as poor
toys, as he would look at a child's picture-al-
phabet. The saint only cares that the naturalist
detects design In Nature ; himself Is quite care-
less of the vaunted evidences. He has vision.

Obstructives of the present day are the Pope,
with his Encyclical Letter, and his later dem-

234 JOURNAL [Age 64

onstrations ; Bishop of Orleans, Dupanloup ;

Bishop of Oxford; the State of New Jersey;

Andrew Johnson.

March, 1868.

I hold it a proof of our high capabilities
that Horatio Greenough was born in Boston.

Can any one doubt that if the noblest saint
among the Buddhists, the noblest Mahometan,
the highest Stoic of Athens, the purest and
wisest Christian, Menu in India, Confucius in
China, Spinoza in Holland, could somewhere
meet and converse together, they would all find
themselves of one religion, and all would find
themselves denounced by their own sects, and
sustained by these believed adversaries of their
sects ? Jeremy Taylor, George Herbert, Pascal
even, Pythagoras, — if these could all converse
intimately, two and two, how childish their coun-
try traditions would appear!

March 18.

I suppose that what Richard Owen told me
in London of Turner's coming to him to ask
him to give him the natural history of the mol-
lusk on which the whale fed, he wishing to un-
derstand it ab ovo thoroughly, because he was
going to paint " the Whaleship," was just that


chance of suggestion which I sought for my
"Song of Boston," in going down the harbour,
to Nantasket, and in my visit not yet made to
Bunker Hill Monument. We cannot give our-
selves too many advantages, and a hint to the
centre of the subject may spring from these pen-
sive strolls around the walls.

Education. The Sunday-School man who said
his class were already in the " Swiss Robinson,"
and he hoped by next term to get them into
" Robinson Crusoe."

I have a problem for an engineer, this, — To
what height must I build a tower in my garden
that shall show me the Atlantic Ocean from its
top ? Where is the Coast Survey ?

" You," said the Brahmin Mandanis to the
King (Alexander the Great), " are the only man
whom I ever found curious in the investiga-
tion of philosophy at the head of an army." —

(From a loose sheet)

Man of Science. Common sense or law of
bodies must be obeyed. But he finds limits to
this, or, itself leading to contradictions, for mat-

2^6 JOURNAL [Age 64

ter is fluent, and has no solid bottom ; mere
bubbles at last.

Then the very mathematician and materialist
is forced to a poetic result, — as metamorphosis ;
"progressive or arrested development^ "

Unity. In vain he would keep up the bars
of species or genera; the pedant becomes poet
against his will ; Cuvier must approximate to
GeofFroy Saint - Hilaire in spite of himself.
These dreadful Okens and Goethes will be
born. Unity ! Unity ! There is this Mischiev-
ous Mind as tyrannical, nay, more tyrannic,
than the other. "The Niagara currents in the

The Mind must think by means of Matter ;
find Matter or Nature the means and words
of its thinking and expression. The world its
school and university for Heaven or Thought.

I Mr. Emerson, in "Poetry and Imagination" {Letters
and Social Aims, p. 7), speaks of " the electric word pro-
nounced by John Hunter a hundred years ago, arrested and
progressive development. ' ' The wonderful arrangement of the
anatomical specimens in the museum of the Jardin des Plantes
had suggested strange thoughts on evolution to Mr. Emerson
in 1833. These and the above hint from John Hunter, with
reading of Lamarck, had prepared Mr. Emerson in advance
for Darwin's teaching.


[Here follows in the Journal a list of the
committee appointed to visit the Greek depart-
ment at Harvard College the following year, in
which Mr. Emerson's name appears.]

(From NY)

Revolutions. In my youth, Spinoza was a hob-
goblin ; now he is a saint.

When I see tracts of blowing sand planted
with pitch pine trees and held fast as if granite
slabs had been laid on themj and by the annual
fall of the leaves made slowly but surely into a
fertile soil; . . . when I see the Japanese build-
ing a steam navy, and their men of rank send-
ing children to America for their education ; the
Chinese, instead of stoning an ambassador if he
steps out of the walls of Canton, now choosing
Mr. Burlingame as their ambassador to West-
ern courts ; when I see a good spring of water
found by a hazel-twig ; and my message sent
from Boston to London in sixty seconds.' The
plough displaces the spade ; the bridge dis-
places the ferryman ; the press displaces the
scrivener; the locomotive the coach ; the tele-
graph the courier,

I This apparently unfinished sentence is a catalogue of
" Revolutions " of the day.

238 JOURNAL [Age 64

Greatness. The appearance of a great man
draws a new circle outside of our largest orbit,
and surprises and commands us. It is as if to
the girl fully occupied with her paper dolls a
youth approaches and says, " I love you with
all my heart; come to me." Instantly she leaves
all, dolls, dances, maids, and youths, and dedi-
cates herself to him ; or, as California, in 1 849,
or the war in 1861, electrified the young men,
and abolished all their little plans and projects
with a magnificent hope or terror, requiring a
whole new system of hopes and fears and means.
Our little circles absorb and occupy us as fully
as the heavens ; we can minimize as infinitely
as maximize, and the only way out of it is (to
use a country phrase) to kick the pail over, and
accept the horizon instead of the pail, with
celestial attractions and influences, instead of
worms and mud pies. Coleridge, Goethe, the
new naturalists in astronomy, geology, zoology,
the correlations, the social science, the new
readings of history through Niebuhr, Momm-
sen. Max Miiller, Champollion, Lepsius, as-
tonish the mind, and detach it effectually from
a hopeless routine. "Come out of that," they
say ; " you lie sick and doting, only shifting
from bed to bed." And they dip the patient in


this Russian bath, and he is at least well awake,
and capable of sane activity. The perceptions
which metaphysical and natural science cast upon
the religious traditions are every day forcing
people in conversation to take new and ad-
vanced position. "We have been building on
the ice, and lo ! the ice has floated. And the
man is reconciled to his losses when he sees the
grandeur of his gains.

Henry Clapp said that Rev. Dr. O was

always looking about to see if there was not a
vacancy in the Trinity. He said that Greeley
knew that he was a self-made man, and was al-
ways glorifying his maker. He said that T

aimed at nothing, and always hit it exactly.

Goethe. Schiller wrote to Humboldt, in 1 802,
" If Goethe had only a spark of faith, many
things here might be improved."

It takes twenty years to get a good book
read. For each reader is struck with a new pas-
sage and at first only with the shining and su-
perficial ones, and by this very attention to these
the rest are slighted. But with time the graver
and deeper thoughts are observed and pondered.

24° JOURNAL [Age 64

New readers come from time to time, — their
attention whetted by frequent and varied allu-
sions to the book, — until at last every passage
has found its reader and commentator.

May 22.
Education. I am delighted to-day in reading
Schwegler's account of Socrates, to have intelli-
gent justice done to Aristophanes. The rogue
gets his dues.

Go into the school or the college, and see
the difference of faculty: Some who lap know-
ledge as a cat laps milk, and others very slow

Cowley considered the use of a university for
the cherishing of gifted persons.

[Here follow most of pp. 32, 2,2) i" "Poetry
and Imagination " {Letters and Social Jims).'\

'Tennyson's Saint Grail. Tennyson has abun-
dant invention, but contents himself with the
just enough ; is never obscure or harsh in a new
or rare word. Then he has marked virility, as
if a surgeon or practical physiologist had no
secrets to teach him, but he deals with these as
Abraham or Moses would, and without prudery

1868] TENNYSON 241

or pruriency. His inventions are adequate to
the dignity of the fable. The gift of adequate
expression Is his ; [Bacchic phrensy in Maud, A
nightingale drunken with his overflowing mel-
ody, an animal heat in the verse, and its opu-
lent continuations.'] The priest Is astonished to
find a holiness in this knight-errant which he
himself never knew, and rubs his eyes. The
fine Invention of Tennyson is in crowding Into
an hour the slow creations and destructions of
centuries. It suggests besides. In the coming
and vanishing of cities and temples, what really
befalls In long durations on earth. How science
of Ethnology limps after these enchantments !
Miracles of cities and temples made by Merlin,
like thoughts.^

What I wrote on the last leaf concerning
Tennyson is due perhaps to the first reading, —
to the new wine of his Imagination, — -and I
may not enjoy It, or rate it so highly again.

1 The passage in brackets thrown in, a momentary re-
membrance, then the thread of the discourse is resumed and
Mr. Emerson speaks of Percival and the Monk in the idyll.

2 In the Journal the date January i, 1870, follows this
paragraph, but it does not appear how much was the later

242 JOURNAL [Ace 64

[Then Mr. Emerson writes into the Journal
three years later, under date of October, 1871,
the following sentence : — ^

The only limit to the praise of Tennyson as
a lyric poet is, that he is alive. If he were an
ancient, there would be none.


Dionysius the elder, when some one asked
him if he was at leisure, replied, " May that
never befall me."

Calvinism is the breath of a hot village of
Teutonic peasants, exalted to the highest power,
their notions of right and wrong, their loves and
fears and hatreds, their notions of law and pun-
ishment and reward, — all acute but narrow,
ignorant and revengeful, yet devout. Dr. Watts's
Hymns are its exponent. I remember that Bur-
nap in the Cambridge Divinity School used to
say that Calvinism stood on three legs, — Dr.
Watts's Psalms and Hymns, Milton's Paradise
Lost, and the Westminster Catechism, — or was
there not a fourth. King James's translation of
the Bible?

I should say that the opposite pole of theol-
ogy was the Hindoo Buddhism, as represented
in the prayers of the Bhagavata Purana.


We had a story one day of a meeting of the
Atlantic Club, when the copies of the new
number of the Atlantic being brought in, every
one rose eagerly to get a copy, and then each
sat down, and read his own article.

Out of power a party is immensely strong ;
it stands for principles, and its opponents have
nothing but possession. But the moment the
radical or republican comes into place, he has
then to consider not what should be, but also
what can be, which he finds a very different and
very difficult problem. " Did you give Athens
the best laws?" "No," replied Solon, "but
the best it would receive."

Old and New. We read the English and for-
eign news with relish, the American with disrel-
ish. We read of Socrates, Antoninus, and Menu
gladly; not so gladly of our hodiernal churches.

When I remember how easily and happily I
think In certain company, — as, for instance, in
former years, with Alcott, and Charles New-
comb, earlier with Peter Hunt, though I must
look far and wide for the persons and conditions,
which yet were real, — and how unfavorable my

244 JOURNAL [Age 64

daily habits and solitude are for this success,
and consider also how essential this commerce
is to fruitfulness in writing, — I see that I
cannot exaggerate its importance among the
resources of inspiration.

Gurney' seemed to me, in an hour I once
spent with him, a fit companion. Holmes has
some rare qualities. Horatio Greenough shone,
but one only listened to him ; so Carlyle. Henry
Hedge, George Ward especially, and if one could
ever get over the fences, and actually on even
terms, Elliot Cabot. But I should like to^try
George E. Tufts,^ my brilliant correspondent of
three letters; and William B. Wright, of the
" Highland Rambles." There is an advantage
of being somewhat in the chair of the company,
— a little older and better^read, — if one is aim-
ing at searching thought. And yet, how heartily
I could sit silent, purely listening, and receptive,
beside a rich mind !

I Ephraim Wales Gurney, beloved professor of Latin at
Harvard College, and later dean. He died in his prime. He
was chosen a member of the Saturday Club shortly before his

z A man whose letters interested Mr. Emerson so much
that once, while staying at Saratoga, he went on a journey in
quest of him, but in vain. He was an original thinker, a
mechanic, crippled by some disease.


May 30.
Heard Weiss speak on the platform of the
Free Religious Society, and was struck with his
manhood. Use and opportunity with such rare
talent would have made him a great orator. He
makes admirable points, but has the fault of
lingering around a point, and repeats it, and
dulls it. But sincerity and independence and
courage, — in short, manhood, — he has, which

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