Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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and grave, but with opinions and purposes which
he quietly held and frankly stated, when his
opinion was asked ; — gently, but with a strong
will, and a perseverance which at last carried his
point. Mr. Henry Lee Higginson told me how

434 JOURNAL [Age 71

scrupulously honest he was, how slow to avail
himself of the right to take up mortgages, the
terms of which had not been kept, Mr. H.
thought him romantically honest. And his truth
was of the like strain. He said to me, at his
house, that when his Club had lately met there,
several gentlemen expressed to him their satis-
faction at being his guests ; and this led him to
say that he did not believe he had ever expressed
to any man more regard for the person than
he really felt. Exact and literal in aflFairs and In
intercourse, he was the most affectionate parent,
and his children's children filled the house with
their joy.

His generosity was quiet, but sure and effec-
tive. Very strict in its direction, but ample in
amount. He was the friend in need, silent but
sure, and the character of the giver added rare
value to the gift, as if an angel brought you gold.
I may well say this, when I recall the fact that
on the next day after my house was burned, he
came to Concord to express his sympathy in
my misfortune, and a few days afterward sur-
prised me with a munificent donation from him-
self and his children which went far to rebuild it.

In college, I well remember the innocence
of the youth when we first met; — and the per-

1874] F. C. LOWELL. POETRY 435

feet simplicity of his manners he never lost. Yet
long years afterward I well remember that when
we stood together to witness a marriage in the
Stone Chapel, my wife inquired who was the
gentleman who stood by me, and who looked so
like a king; I was delighted by the perception,

I dearly prize the photograph taken from
Rowse's drawing of his head, which is an ad-
mirable likeness, my gift from his daughter,
Georgina Lowell. His daughter tells me that
he thought he did not interest his acquaint-
ances. I believe he always had their entire re-
spect, and a friendship akin to love.

Fortunate in his birth and education, accus-
tomed always to a connection of excellent so-
ciety, he was never confounded with others by
the facility of interest and neighbourhood, but
remained as independent in his thought as if

he had lived alone.

Parker House,

Monday night, November.
The secret of poeti-y is never explained, —
is always new. We have not got farther than
mere wonder at the delicacy of the touch, and
the eternity it inherits. In every house a child
that in mere play utters oracles, and knows not
that they are such. 'T is as easy as breath. *Tis

436 JOURNAL [Age 71

like this gravity, which holds the Universe to-
gether, and none knows what it is.

" The arch is the parent of the vault, the
vault is the parent of the cupola." — Edward
A. Freeman.

The boy grew to man and never asked a
question, for every problem quickly developed
its law.

[In the Spring, Mr. Emerson had been sur-
prised by an invitation from the Independent
Club of the University of Glasgow to accept
their nomination as candidate for the office of
Lord Rector for that year, the duty involved
being the delivery of the annual address. Mr.
Emerson was pleased with the compliment, and,
after some consideration, and consultation with
near friends, sent his acceptance, but with little
expectation of election — especially as Disraeli was
the candidate of the Conservative body of stu-
dents. The campaign, as shown by manifestoes,
songs, etc., constantly sent to Mr. Emerson
through the mail by his enthusiastic adherents,
was conducted with great spirit and excitement.
In November he was notified of the result. He


had received more than five hundred votes, and
Disraeli was chosen Lord Rector by a majority
of some two hundred.

In December, the collection of poems, Par-
nassus, was published, which owes its existence
to the urgency and activity through several
years of Mr. Emerson's younger daughter. She
loved to hear her father read poems and frag-
ments collected through years in his " Black
Anthology " (so called from its leather covers)
and another. As his favourites were often hard
to find, especially those from the older poets,
and not in such collections as were at hand, the
idea of publishing such a volume pleased him,
when suggested, and he said, and, when urged
again another year, repeated, " We must." Then
the zealous school - girl began herself to seize
occasions to bring volumes of the poets to her
father in his study and insist on his choosing, and
began herself to copy the favourites. This went
on through several years until she became Mrs.
Forbes, and then, whenever she was with her
father either in Milton or Concord, she suc-
ceeded in commanding attention to the work,
and herself had the copying done. Thus, when
the lecturing ceased, there was more time to
attend to the selections. It should be said also

438 JOURNAL [Age 71

that Mr. Emerson became less exacting in his
criticisms of newer verses. In the preface to
Parnassus he gives in the first paragraph an ac-
count of his selection of poems from his early
youth, followed by a short essay on the poets.]

Authors or Books quoted or referred to
IN Journal for 1874

Alexis, Lines on Sleep ; Plotinus;

Dr. Charles R. Lowell ; Charles Sumner ;
Edward A. Freeman, Cathedral Architecture ;
William Morris, Proem to the Earthly Paradise ;
Charles' Warren Stoddard; Titus M. Coan,
The Tree of Life.









(From Journal ST)

[The flame of Mr. Emerson's powers of writ-
ing, faint in the last three years, now flickered
to extinction in the journals of this and the fol-
lowing year. Yet the instinct of work remained,
and he passed most of each day in his study
still working at arranging his manuscripts, and
his daughter Ellen helped him as far as she
could. In the year before, the question of who
should deal with his manuscripts when he was
gone had been in his thought, and Mr. Cabot's
name was the one which he wistfully mentioned,
but felt that the favour was so great that he could
not venture to ask it from his friend. But now
the case became urgent, for the promised book
was called for by the successors of the English
publishers who had first wrung consent from
Mr. Emerson by threatening to collect a book
of old Dial papers, and other rejected material,
out of copyright. So, with Mr. Emerson's per-
mission, the matter was presented for Mr. Cabot's

442 JOURNAL [Age 71

consideration. He consented with entire kind-
ness to give what help he could, and thus lifted
the last load from Mr. Emerson's shoulders.
The relief was complete and rendered his re-
maining years happy. At last he could see and
come near to the friend whom he had valued
at a distance for years. Mr. Cabot's frequent
visits, often for several days at a time, were a
great pleasure. Just how large Mr. Cabot's
share in preparing for the press Letter's and So-
cial Aims was he tells with entire frankness in
the preface to that volume. Mr. Emerson fur-
nished the matter, — almost all written years
before, — but Mr. Cabot the arrangement and
much of the selection. All was submitted to
Mr. Emerson's approval, but he always spoke
to his friend of the volume as "your book."

Early in the year his crony of the Boston
school - boy days. Dr. William H. Furness,
wrote to him begging him to accept an invita-
tion to lecture in Philadelphia and to be his
guest. In the affectionate letter in answer, given
in full in Mr. Cabot's Memoir, Mr. Emerson
writes : " Well, what shall I say in defence of
my stolid silence at which you hint? Why, only
this: . . . that the gods have given you some
draught of their perennial cup, and withheld


the same from me. I have, for the last two years,
written nothing in my once diurnal manuscripts;
and never a letter that I could omit. . . . Now
comes your new letter with all your affectionate
memories and preference fresh as roses. . . .
I must obey it. My daughter Ellen, who goes
always with my antiquity, insists that we shall.
. . . My love to Sam Bradford." They went and
the three playfellows had a happy reunion.

On March 18, Mr. Emerson read in Boston
a lecture " True Oratory," probably nearly the
same as the chapter " Eloquence " in Letters
and Social Aims.

On the Nineteenth of April, the town cele-
brated the one hundredth anniversary of Con-
cord Fight. President Grant and members of his
Cabinet were present, the Governors of all the
New England States with their escorting regi-
ments, the Massachusetts General Court, the
eminent writers of New England, and an im-
mense concourse of people. At the end of the
North Bridge (built anew for the occasion),
where stood the American force, the bronze
Minute Man made by Daniel C. French had
been placed, and, when the throng arrived, Mr.
Emerson unveiled it and made a short speech,
the last he ever composed. Then, in the tent

444 JOURNAL [Age 71

beyond, Lowell and Curtis delivered respec-
tively the admirable Ode and Address.

Mr. Emerson's speech was not included in
the Works. It is to be found in the Boston
papers of the next day, the Commonwealth of
April 27, and in the Concord pamphlet record-
ing that celebration.]

In 1775, the patriotism in Massachusetts was
so hot that it melted the snow, and the rye
waved on the 19th April. Our farmers have
never seen it so early. The very air and the
soil felt the anger of the people.

It occurs that the short limit of human life is
set in relation to the instruction man can draw
of Nature. No one has lived long enough to
exhaust its laws.

The delicacy of the touch and the eternity it
inherits —

In every house a child that in mere play utters
oracles, and knows not that they are such: 't is as
easy as breathing. 'T is like gravity which holds
the universe together,and none knows what it is.

[It should be-mentioned that Mr. Emerson
had been appointed a member of the sub-corn-

1875] READING 445

mittee on Philosophy at Harvard University for
the year.]

" Eichhorn would have the order of studies
and the establishment of rigor therein in our
universities increased. Others agreed. Then
Schleiermacher quite simply said, he did not see
how each must prescribe the way by which he
came to his knowledge : the routine was in our
ways of study so demolished, the rules of all
kinds so heaped, that to him nothing seemed
better to do than to pull down all the universi-
ties. ' And what to put in their place ? ' they
asked : * That would it find of itself at once,
and quite rightly,' answered Schleiermacher." —
Varnhagen von Ense. Blatter aus der preussi-
schen Geschichte, v, 44.

December 5, 1875.
Thomas Carlyle's 80th birthday.

Authors or Books quoted or referred to
IN Journal for 1875

Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Em-
pire ; Eichhorn and Schleiermacher apud Von
Ense ; Charles Levigne, Un M'edecin de TAme.








(From Journal ST)

On Saturday, February 5, received through the
post-oiBce a pacquet containing a silver medal,
on one face bearing the profile of Carlyle, with
the name "Thomas Carlyle" inscribed; on the
other face,

"In Commemoration


December 4,"

A card enclosed reads, "To R. W. Emerson
from Alexander Macmillan" [London] ; for
which welcome and precious gift I wish to write
immediately my thanks to the kind sender.

[In March, Mr. Emerson read a lecture in
Lexington. An invitation from the Washing-
ton and Jefferson literary societies of the Uni-
versity of Virginia to give an address at their
Commencement pleased him as a token from
the South and he accepted it, and went with
his daughter to Charlottesville in June. He


was hospitably received, and read there " The
Scholar" (in Lectures and Biographical Sketches).

On November 8, at a meeting of the Latin
School Association in Boston, celebrating the
hundredth anniversary of the reopening of the
school after the evacuation of the city by the
British, he gave his pleasant reminiscences of his
school-days. His remarks were reported in the
Boston papers of next day.

The year's journal, hardly begun, — or rather
the journal of more than half a century, — closes
with a poem of William Allingham, sent and
signed by the Author, whom Mr. Emerson
valued, enclosed between the leaves. It might
seem, perhaps, a grateful tribute of a disciple to
a master.]


What is the Artist's duty ?
His work, however wrought.
Shape, color, word or tone
Is to make better known
(Himself divinely taught),
To praise and celebrate,
Because his love is great,
The lovely miracle
Of Universal Beauty.
This message would he tell.


This message is his trust,
Amidst the day's crude strife,
With all his heart and soul.
With all his skill and strength
Seeking to add at length, —
(Because he may and must, — )
Some atom to the whole
Of man's inheritance ;
Some fineness to the glance.
Some richness to the life.

If he shall deal perforce
With evil and with pain.
With horror and affright.
He does it to our gain ;
Makes felt the mighty course
Of law — whose atmosphere
Is beauty and delight ;
Nay, these its very source.

His work, however small,
Itself hath rounded well,
Even like Earth's own ball
In softly tinted shell
Of air. His magic brings
The mystery of things ;
It gives dead substance wings;
It shows in little, much ;
And by an artful touch
Conveys the hint of all.

452 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

(From Ledgers of uncertain date)

[Mr. Emerson, with all the temperamental
difficulty he found in arrangement of the abun-
dant material received from Nature and man,
had something of business method in his book-
keeping. Besides his Journals — day-books —
he had also a few books which might be called
ledgers, into which irregularly he copied, or
wrote, good material according to subject. Such
were IL (Intellect), PY (Poetry), PH (Philos-
ophy), LI (Literature), TO (Tolerance?) and
others less easily guessed.

The editors have ventured to give here a few
concluding passages, of uncertain date, from
some of these manuscripts, which they do not
find among the journal selections, or in the

(From PH)

Idealism. Is it thought that to reduce the
Divine niode of existence to a state of ideas
is deducting with a high hand of idealism and
unfastening the logic of the Universe ? We are
mammals of a higher element, and, as the whale
must come to the top of the water for air, we
must go to the top of the air, now and then,
for thought.

The guiding star to the arrangement and use

1862-1872] SENSIBILITY 453

of facts is in your leading thought. The heaven
of Intellect is profoundly solitary, it is unpro-
fitable, it is to be despised and rejected of men.
If I recall the happiest hours of existence, those
which really make a man an inmate of a better
world, it is a lonely and undescribed joy, but it
is the door that leads to joys ear hath not heard
nor eye seen.

Each power of the mind is well in itself; as,
perception, or memory : but we are first sensible
of the miracle when these powers combine or
interact. Mathematic combinations are potent
only in the first degree, until powerful memory
is joined to them ; then you have Archimedes
and Laplace.

Sensibility. The poorest place has all the
wealth of the richest, as soon as genius arrives.
. . . Ah, could I quicken your attention to
your society by whispering to you its immense
wealth of nature, and genius's possibility. There
are persons who might take their seat on the
throne of this globe without real or false shame.

The real estate of the Universe is Space and
Matter ; the proprietor is Intellect, and what
belongs to Intellect, Will or Good Will.

454 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

Abnormal Minds. William Blake, Sweden-
borg, Behmen, and what other men of abnormal
experience, — as, for example, some trustworthy
second-sighted or forewarned seers or dreamers
who are apprised in one country of the death or
danger of their twin or brother in another coun-
try (if ever one could get a proven fact of this
kind), —-are important examples each to the
metaphysician; Blake [also], who affirmed that
he did not see the phenomenon, as the marble,
the harp, or the cloud, but looked ever through
it, and saw its meaning. The Zoroasters and
Sibyls and oracular men to whom we owe some
profoundest sentences are essential parts of our
knowledge of the Human Mind, or the pos-
sible omnificence (latent but for these flashes)
of the Intellect. The Hindu specimens have
their value. Every such mind is a new key to
the secret of Mind.

Wonder. The most advanced man in his
most advanced moment — contemplating him-
self and Nature — sees how rude an idiot he is,
how utterly unknown is the Cause and the Ne-
cessity, — its roots and its future all unknown,
— a gigantic dream.

1862-1872] THE MASTERS 455

Divination. I think that not by analytic in-
spection, but by sympathy and piety, we cor-
rect our metaphysics. Thus Hegel and Kant
have become possible by the extraordinary
wealth of all natural sciences, which waked and
tested every faculty of thought, and thus finer
distinctions could be felt and expressed.

The analysis of Intellect and Nature which
the grand masters, Heraclitus, Parmenides,
Plato, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Schelling, Hegel,
have attempted are of primary value to Science,
like the work of the great geometers and math-
ematicians, and cannot be spared or overpraised :
they are dear to us as vindications of the suffi-
ciency of the intellect, and pledges of future ad-
vances. They seem to the scholar to degrade
all inferior and less ambitious observation as
needless and of no worth. They freeze his in-
vention and hope. They write Ne plus ultra on
the dizzy pinnacle to which in the thin air their
almost winged footsteps have climbed.

They have marked, once for all, distinctions
which are inherent in the sound mind, and
which we must henceforth respect.

The instinct that led Heraclitus and Par-
menides and Lucretius to write in verse was

456 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

just, however imperfect their success. The world
lies so in heaps that it is not strange that there
should yet be no painters, no Homer of our
thoughts, far higher than the Homer of Greek

Intellect. There is no age to Intellect. Read
Plato at twenty or at sixty years, the impression
is about equal.

The joy of the thinker in detecting his errors :
— I have more enjoyed, in the last hours of
finishing a chapter, the insight attained of how
the truths really stand, than I suffer from see-
ing the confusion I had left in the statement.

Inspiration. Our music-box only plays certain
tunes, and rarely a sweeter strain: but we are
assured that our barrel is not a dead, but a live
barrel, nay, is only a part of the tune, and changes
like that. A larger dialectic conveys a sense
of power and feeling of terror unknown ; and
Henry Thoreau said, "that a thought would
destroy most persons," and yet we apologize
for the power, and bow to the persons.

I want an electrical machine. Slumbering
power we have, but not excited, collected, and
discharged. If I should be honest, I should say,

1862-1872J THE LAW. TRANSIT 457

my exploring of life presents little or nothing of
respectable event or action, or, in myself, of a
personality. Too composite to offer a positive
unity: but it is a recipiency, a percipiency. And
I, and far weaker persons (if it were possible)
than I, who pass for nothing but imbeciles,
do yet affirm by our own percipiency the pres-
ence and perfection of Law, as much as all the

A man's style is his mind's voice. Wooden
minds, wooden voices. Truth is shrill as a fife,
various as a panharmonium.

Transiiion. Transition the organic destiny of
the mind.

The value of a trope is that the hearer is one.
'T is the great law of Nature, that the more tran-
sit, the more continuity; or, we are immortal by
force of transits. We ask a selfish, selfsame im-
mortality. Nature replies by steeping us in the
sea which girds the seven worlds, and makes us
free of them all. At any pitch, a higher pitch.
What we call the Universe to-day is only a
symptom or omen of that to which we are pass-
ing. Every atom is on its way' onward. The
universe circulates in thought. Every thought

458 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

is fleeting. Our power lies in transition, there
is said to be a certain infinite of power which is
availed us in the power-press.

There 's not only your talent, but your spirit.
Easy to give your colour or character to any as-
sembly, if your spirit is better than the speak-
er's. [My brother] Edward, with his wit, never
failed to check any trifling with morals in his
presence. 'Tis impossible that the Divine Order
be broken without resistance, and the remorses,
wraths, indecisions, violence, and runnings away
into solitude of men are the checks and recoils.

The wonder of the world in good hours —
I might say "Whenever we go home from the
streets — is, that so many men of various talent,
including men of eminent special ability, do not
recognize the supreme value of character. In
history we appreciate it fully. We all read Plu-
tarch with one mind, and unanimously take sides
with Agesilaus in Sparta, with Aristides, Pho-
cion, Demosthenes, in Athens, with Epaminon-
das in Thebes, and wonder how the Athenians
could be such fools as to take such bravos as the
Creons against these grave, just, and noble he-
roes. In Rome, we give our suffrages again to
Scipio, Regulus, Paul us ^milius,and Cato,and

1862-1872] NATURE AND MIND 459

Trajan, and Marcus Aurelius against their prof-
ligate rivals. In England, we know the worth
of Sidney, Alfred, of More, of Burke. In Amer-
ica, we see the purity and exceptional eleva-
tion of Washington. And, at this moment, we
see in the English Minister at the head of the
Government the immense comfort and trust
reposed in a competent minister of a high and *
blameless character.'

Nature. The secret of Nature glimmers to all
eyes in these days, namely, that her ulterior
meaning dwarfs all her wonders before the gran-
deur to which she leads us on. For she apprises
man that he converses with reality, with the
cause of causes, and her fairest pictures are only
part of the immense procession of effects.

Mind and Nature. On this (unity)theemphasis
of heaven and earth is laid. Nature is brute, but
as this animates it, — only a language, a noun,
for the poet. Nature always the effect ; Mind
the flowing cause. Nature, we find, is as is our
sensibility; hostile to ignorance, — plastic, trans-
parent, delightful to knowledge. Mind contains
the law; History is the slow and atomic un-
I Probably Gladstone.

46o JOURNAL [Age 59-69

folding: the Universe, at last, only prophetic,
or, shall we say, symptomatic of vaster interpre-
tation and result.

(From TO)

'Tis fine, that Hegel "dared not unfold or
pursue the surprising revolutionary conclusions
' of his own method," but not the less did the
young Hegelians consummate the work, so that
quickly, in all departments of life, in natural
sciences, politics, ethics, laws, and in art, the
rigorous Dogma of Immanent Necessity exter-
minated all the old tottering, shadowy forms.
'Tis like Goethe and Wordsworth disowning
their poetry.

Room must be allowed for the skepticism. It
was always in use that certain belligerent minds
had a suicidal, a scorpion-sting-scorpion talent,
as, it is said, the gastric juices sometimes eat up
the stomach : so these have the whim to go be-
hind the Institutions also, and ask the founda-
tion of the foundation, " the guide of my guide,"
as M. R. asked me. And there is, as my brother
Edward said, in boyhood, always " the other way ";
or, as Shakspeare says, " A plague of opinion ! a
man can wear on both sides, like a leather jerkin."

They are all cracked ; every one of them has

1862-1872] A MAN'S STRENGTH 461

his egotism, or mania, or gluttony, or vulgarity,
or flattery of some kind, as he has his rheumatism,
or scrofula, or sixth toe, or other flaw in his body.
All I want is his sanity, his specialty of acuteness,

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