Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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his fluency, his knack ; and I should as soon
think of asking after the old shoes of an ob-
server as after his gluttonies, or his debts, or
his conceit, or whatever infirmities. "Did the
troops carry the battery ? " " Sire, here is the list
of the wounded." " Take that to the surgeon.
Did they carry the battery ? Vive la France ! "

Allowance always for the exempts, who, by
strong call of Nature, [haunt] the pond-sides,
groping for plants (as Bishop Turpin for the
talisman which Charlemagne threw into the
pond) : or, lost in the allurement of colour,
mix pigments on a pallet; or study the surfaces
and mantles and runes on seashells, heedless of
France or England or Prussia, or what the Pope,
the Emperor, the Congress, or the stock ex-
change, may do ; or Carnot buried in his math-
ematics ; or Kant in his climbing from round
to round the steps of the mysterious ladder which
is the scale of metaphysic powers. These are
always justified sooner or later : point for point,
the whole noisy fracas of politics or interest is

462 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

truly and divinely recognized and counted for
them, therein their spiritual coil or fij'/aw?. There
is Sardinia, and London, Rome, and Vienna,
and Washington, sternly abstracted into its salt
and essence.

'Transition. Ever the ascending effort. The
Greeks and the Scandinavians hold that men
had one name and the gods another for heaven,
hell, water, cloud, and mountain. And the Edda,
when it has named and dealt with the Asa and
the Elfin, speaks of the "higher gods." See the
ascending scale of Plato and especially of Plo-

Natural Sciences have made great stride by
means of Hegel's dogma which put Nature, and
thought, matter and spirit, in right relation, one
the expression or externalization of the other.
Observation was the right method, and meta-
physics was Nature and subject to observation
also. But (Hegel and all his followers) shunned
to apply the new arm to what most of all be-
longed to it, to anthropology, morals, politics,
etc. For this at once touched conservatism,
church, jurisprudence, etc. Therefore the Nat-
ural Sciences made great progress and philoso-

1862-1872] SCIENCE. ETHICS 463

phy none. But Natural Science, without phi-
losophy, without ethics, was unsouled. Presently
Natural Science, which the governments have
befriended, will disclose the liberalizing as well
as the dynamic strength ; then Natural Science
will be presented as, e. g., geology, astronomy,
ethnology, as contradicting the Bible. Differ-
ence of the two is : Natural Sciences, a circle,
Morals and Metaphysics a line of advance; one
the basis, the other the completion.

Not only Transition but Melioration. The
good soul took you up, and showed you for
an instant of time something to the purpose.
Well, in this way, it educates the youth of the
Universe, — warms, suns, refines each particle;
then drops the little channel, through which
the life rolled beatific, to the ground, — touched
and educated by a moment of sunshine, to be
the fairer material for future channels, through
which the old glory shall dart again in new
directions, until the Universe shall have been
shot through and through, tilled with light.

"With this eternal demand for more which
belongs to our modest constitutions, how can
we be helped ? The gods themselves cannot
help us; they are just as badly off themselves.

464 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

Genius unsettles everything. It is fixed, is
it ? that after the reflective age arrives, there can
be no quite rustic and united man born ? Yes,
quite fixed. Ah ! this unlucky Shakspeare! and
ah ! this hybrid Goethe ! make a new rule, my
dear, can you not ? and to-morrow Genius shall
stamp on it with his starry sandals.

Genius consists neither in improvising, nor
in remembering, but in both.

Writing should be like the settlement of dew
on the leaf, of stalactites on the cavern wall, the
deposit of flesh from the blood, of woody fibre
from the sap. The poem is made up of lines
each of which filled the sky of the poet in its
turn ; so that mere synthesis produces a work
quite superhuman. For that reason, a true poem
by no means yields all its virtue at the first
reading, but is best when we have slowly and
by repeated attention felt the truth of all the

Fame is a signal convenience. Do we read
all the authors, to grope our way to]] the best ?
No, but the world selects for us the best, and
we select from the best, our best.

Mankind have ever a deep common sense
that guides their judgments, so that they are


always right in their fames. How strange that
Jesus should stand at the head of history, the
first character of the world, without doubt, but
the unlikeliest of all men, one would say, to
take such a ground in such a world. Yet he
dates our chronology. Well, as if to indemnify
themselves for this vast concession to truth,
they must put up the militia — Alexander,
Caesar, Napoleon, etc. — into the next place of
proclamation. Yet 't is a pit to Olympus, this
fame to that ; or were by the place of Plato,
Homer, Pindar, etc.

Thoughts. Against Fate, Thought ; for, though
that force be infinitely small, infinitesimal against
the bulky masses of Nature, and the universal
chemistry, 't is of that subtlety that it homeo-
pathically doses the system.

Thought is nothing but the circulations made
harmonious. Every thought, like every man,
wears, at its first emergence from the creative
night, its rank stamped on it : — this is a witti-
cism, and this is a power. . . .

Thoughts come to those who have thoughts,
as banks lend to capitalists and not to paupers.
Every new thought which makes day in our
souls has its long morning twilight to announce

466 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

its coming. Add the aurora that precedes a be-
loved name.

The distinction of a man is that he thinks.
Let that be so. For a man cannot otherwise
compare with a steam-engine or the self-acting
spinning-mule which is never tired, and makes
no fault. But a man thinks and adapts. A man
is not a man, then, until he have his own
thoughts : that first ; then, that he can detach
them. But what thoughts of his own are in Abner
or Guy ? They are clean, well-built men enough
to look at, have money, and houses and books,
but they are not yet arrived at humanity, but
remain idiots and minors.

\Language^ You can find an old philosopher
who has anticipated most of your theses ; but,
if you cannot find the Antisthenes or the Pro-
clus that did, you can find in language that some
unknown man has done it, inasmuch as words
exist which cover your thought.

Thus there is a day when the boy arrives at
wanting a word to express his sense of relation
between two things or two classes of things and
finds the word analogy or identity of ratio. A
day comes when men of all countries are com-
pelled to use the French word solidarity to sig-
nify inseparable individualities.

1862-1872] DIVINE GENIUS 467

(FromIL) '

Genius. Genius loves truth, and clings to it,
so that what it says and does is not in a byroad
visited only by curiosity, but on the great high-
ways of the world, which were before the Ap-
pian Way, and will long outlast it, and which
all souls must travel.

Genius delights in statements which are them-
selves true, which attack and wound any who
opposes them.

They called Ideas Gods, and worshipped in-
tellect. They dared not contravene with knacks
and talents the divinity which they recognized
in genius.

When the Greeks in the Iliad perceived that
the gods mixed in the fray, they drew off.

Wonderful is the Alembic of Nature, through
which the sentiment of tranquillity in the mind
of the sculptor becomes, at the end of his fin-
gers, a marble Hesperus : but the feeling man-
ages somehow to shed Itself over the stone, as
if that were porous to love and truth.

I^ruth. Truth does not come with jangle and
contradiction, but it is what all sects accept,
what recommends their tenets to right-minded
men. Truth is mine, though I never spoke it.

468 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

"Unquestionable truth is sweet, though it
were the announcement of our dissolution." —
H, D. Thoreau.

People value thoughts, not truths ; truth, not
until it has passed through the mould of some
man's mind, and so is a curiosity, and an indi-
vidualism. But ideas, as powers, they are not
up to valuing. We say that the characteristic of
the Teutonic race is, to prefer an idea to a phe-
nomenon ; and of the Celtic, to prefer the phe-
nomenon to the idea. Higher is it to prize the
power above the thought, i. e., above the idea
individualized or domesticated.

Subjectiveness. Dangerously great, immoral
even in its violence of power. The man sees as
he is. Add the least power of vision, and the
tyranny of duties slackens. I am afraid to trust
you with the statement. The genius of Bona-
parte gilds his crimes to us ; but that is only a
hint of what it was to him. It converts every
obstruction into facilities and fuel of force ;
dwarfs into giants. His aim, so dim before,
beams like the morning star, and every cloud
is touched by its rays. . . .

1862-1872] THOUGHT. RELIGION 469

Subjectiveness itself is the question, and Na-
ture is the answer : the Universe is the black-
board on which we write. Philosophy is called
the homesickness of the soul.

Automatic Action of Thought. There is a pro-
cess in the mind analogous to crystallization in
the mineral. I think of some fact. In thinking
of it, I am led to more thlaughts, which show
themselves, first partially, and afterwards more
fully. But in them I see no order. When I
would present them to others, they have no be-
ginning. Leave them now, and return later. Do
not force them into arrangement, and by and
bye you shall find they will take their own order,
and the order they assume is divine.

Thought has its own foregoers and followers,
that is, its own current. Thoughts have a life of
their own. A thought takes its own true rank
in the memory by surviving other thoughts that
were preferred.

But also thought ranks itself at its first emer-

Religion. Religion is the perception of that
power which constructs the greatness of the cen-
turies out of the paltriness of the hours.

470 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

Fancy and Imagination. Examples. Henry
Thoreau writes, —

"The day has gone by with its wind, like the
wind of a cannon ball, and now far in the west
it blows ; by that dim - colored sky you may
track it." (June 18, 1853.)

"The Solidago Nem oralis now yellows the
dry fields with its recurved standard a little
more than a foot high, marching to the holy
land, a countless host of crusaders." (August 23.)

Flight of eagle. " Circling, or rather looping
along westward."

" And where are gone the bluebirds, whose
warble was wafted to me so lately like a blue
wavelet through the air ? "

" The air over these fields is a foundry full
of moulds for casting the bluebird's warbles."
(Feb. 18, 1857.)

" The bird withdrew by his aerial turnpikes."
(Oct. 5, 1857.)

Scholar s Creed. I believe that all men are
born free and equal quoad the laws.

That all men have a right to their life, quoad
the laws.

I believe in freedom of opinion religious and

1862-1872] BELIEFS. FATE 471

I believe in universal suffrage," in public
schools, in free trade.

I believe the soul makes the body.
I believe that casualty is perfect.

(From EO)

Fate. The opinions of men lose all worth to
him who observes that they are accurately pre-
dictable from the ground of their sect.

Well, they are still valuable as representa-
tives of that fagot of circumstances, if they are
not themselves primary parties. But even the
chickens running up and down, and pecking at
each white spot and at each other as ridden by
chicken nature, seem ever and anon to have a
pause of consideration, then hurry on again to
be chickens. Men have more pause.

We are to each other results. As my per-
ception or sensibility is exalted, I see the genesis
of your action, and of your thought. I see you
in your debt, and fountains ; and, to my eye,
instead of a little pond of life, you are a rivulet
fed by rills from every plain and height in Na-
ture and antiquity ; and reviving a remote origin
from the source of things.

I With the exception that known crime should withdraw
the right of suffi-age. [R. W. E.'s note.]

472 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

May and must. The musts are a safe company
to follow, and even agreeable. If we are whigs,
let us be whigs of Nature and Science, and go
for the necessities. The must is as fixed in civil
history and political economy as in chemistry.
How much will has been expended to extin-
guish the Jews ! Yet the tenacities of the race
resist and prevail. So the Negro sees with glee,
through all his miseries, his future possession
of the West Indies (and of the Southern States
of America) assured. For he accumulates and
buys, whilst climate, etc., favour him, against
the white.

Souls with a certain quantity of light are in
excess, and, once for all, belong to the moral
class, — what animal force they may retain, to the
contrary, notwithstanding. Souls with less light,

— it is chemically impossible that they be moral,
what talent or good they have, to the contrary
notwithstanding ; and these belong to the world
of Fate, or animal good : the minors of the
universe, not yet twenty-one, — not yet voters,

— not robed in the toga virilis.

Fate. We are talkative, but Heaven is silent.
I have puzzled myself like a mob of writers be-
fore me in trying to state the doctrine of Fate


for the printer. I wish to sum the conflicting
impressions by saying that all point at last to an
Unity which inspires all, but disdains words and
passes understanding.' . . . The First Cause;
as soon as it is uttered, it is profaned. The
thinker denies personality out of piety, not out
of pride. It refuses a personaHty which is in-
stantly imprisoned in human measures.

" It stands written on the Gate of Heaven
Woe to him who suffers himself to be betrayed by


I have heard that they seem fools who allow
themselves to be engaged and compromised in
undertakings, but that at last it appears quite
otherwise, and to the gods otherwise from the
first. I affix a like sense to this text of Hafiz:
for he who loves is not betrayed, but makes an
ass of Fate.

(From PY)

[_Man's Eastern Horizon^ The men in the
street fail to interest us, because at first view
they seem thoroughly known and exhausted. As
if an inventory of all man's parts and qualities
had been taken. . . . But after the most exact

I Here follows the concluding passage of *' Powers and
Laws of Thought " (^Natural History of Intellect, p. 64).

474 JOURNAL [Age 59-69

count has been taken, there remains as much
more, which no tongue can tell. This remainder
is that which genius works upon. This is that
which the preacher, the poet, the artist, and Love,
and Nature, speak unto, the region of power and
aspiration. These men have a secret persuasion,
that, as little as they pass for in the world, they
are immensely rich in expectancy and power.
The' best part of truth is certainly that which
hovers in gleams and suggestions unpossessed be-
fore man. His recorded knowledge is dead and
cold. But this chorus of thoughts and hopes,
these dawning truths, like great stars just lifting
themselves into his horizon, they are his future,
and console him for the ridiculous brevity and
meanness of his civic life.

Psychology is fragmentarily taught. One man
sees a sparkle or shimmer of the truth, and re-
ports it, and his saying becomes a legend or
golden proverb for all ages. And other men see
and try to say as much, but no man wholly and

We see what we make. We can see only what
we make. All our perceptions, all our desires,
are procreant. Perception has a destiny.' . , .

I What follows is printed in "Poetry and Imagination"
(^Letters and Social Aims, p. 42).

i87s-i88i] THE LAST YEARS 475

[In the last six years of his life, after the
journals had no entries save for a few memo-
randa, Mr. Emerson, though he wrote nothing,
— could hardly answer a letter, — still, occasion-
ally, when urged, read a discourse near home,
among old friends. On these occasions his
daughter always sat near him to make sure that
the sheets of his manuscript did not get out
of order, or even to prompt him, in case he mis-
took a word.

In April, 1877, he read his affectionate paper
on his native city " Boston " at the Old South
Church, and, a year later, in the same place,
"The Fortune of the Republic."

In the Spring of 1 879, he read " Eloquence "
at Cambridge, and also "The Preacher" in The
Divinity School Chapel, where, forty-one years
before, he had startled his hearers with the Ad-
dress which banished him from the University
for so many years.

The School of Philosophy was established in
Concord in that year by Mr. Alcott's friends,
and there Mr. Emerson read "Memory," and
in the following year, " Aristocracy," to its as-
sembled" company.

In 1880, it has been said, Mr. Emerson read
his hundredth lecture to his townsfolk in The
Concord Lyceum.

476 JOURNAL [Age 78

His last public reading was probably his pa-
per on Carlyle (See Lectures and Biographical
Sketches) before the Massachusetts Historical

It is a pleasant circumstance to remember that
in his last years Mr. Emerson took from the
study shelves the volumes of his own printed
works. They seemed new to him, and when his
daughter came in, he looked up, smiling, and
said, " Why, these things are really very good."

To readers of these journals — talks of a poet
and scholar, who was also a good citizen of the
Republic, with himself in varying moods — the
words of the East Indian Mozoomdar may seem
appropriate : —

" Yes, Emerson had all the wisdom and spirit-
uality of the Brahmans. Brahmanism is an ac-
quirement, a state of being rather than a creed."]




Abaddon, vn, 97.

Abandon, v, 239; viii, 106.

Abandonment, continence and, vi,

Abernethy on flies, 11, 471.

Abolition cause, merits of, iii, 469.

Abolition grows strong, iii, 522.

Abolitionist, duties of, vi, 534-36;
VII, 12; must be gentleman, ix,

Abolitionists, vn, 221, 222.

Absoluteness, x, 186.

Abstract, the, is practical, V, 69.

Abuse, vni, 160.

Academy Exhibition, vn, 488.

Accademia in Naples, m, 66.

Acceleration of thought, vin, S3-

Acquaintances, H, 445; New York,
VI, 163; intellectual, vn, 366;
English, vn, 489; x, 415-17; new,
rx, 261; manners of literary, x,
64, 65; French, x, 413.

Acquiescence, vi, 56.

Action, II, 62; and thought, I, 316,
317; and contemplation, n, 239-
41; single-minded, iii, 338; de-
light in heroic, iv, 320; and idea,
vn, 554; physical and intellect-
ual, rx, 88.

Actions, few, IV, 226.

Acton, walk, with Thoreau, to,
vni, 40, 41.

Actual, the, v, 562.

Adam, fall of, iv, 287.

Adams, Abel, death of, x, 431, 432.

Adams, John, and Jefferson, fu-
neral rites of, n, 113.

Adams, John, n, 216; on courage,
his sayings, vni, 228, 229.

Adams, John Quincy, n, 205; his
eulogy on Monroe, 11, 41 1 ; rv, 233 ;
VI, 349, 350; compared with Web-
ster, VI, 508; rules of, vin, 353.

Adaptability in author, ix, 8.

Adaptivcness, vn, 61; 103.

Addison never knew nature, IV,

Adirondac Club, ix, 1S9-61; ix,
193. 194'

Adirondacs, visit to, ix, 158-61.

Admiration, n, 378.

Adrastia, law of, vm, 456.

Advance in truth, in, 224.

Advance necessary for truth, in,

Advancing men humble, v, 318, 319.

Advantages, unsafe, iv, 34.

Adversity, education for, v, 70.

Advertisements, v, 356.

iEolus, royal, in, 10.

iEschylus, judging of, iv, 326; V,

iEsthetic Club, iv, 292.

Affectation, iv, 222, 223.

Affinity, law of, vn, 301.

Affirmative, vi, 10; and David's
inventory, vi, 126; ever good, VI,
135; the, DC, 41, 42.

Afternoon man, iv, 292, 293.

Agassiz, on embryos, vn, 557; lec-
tures of, VII, 424; vni, 341; and
water, vin, 425 ; ix, 80, 81 ; birth-
day of, IX, 95; IX, 149; 270; and
Tiedemann, ix, 521; in Chicago,
X, 11; speech of, at Saturday
Club, X, 26; in Concord, x, 60;
visit to, x, 161 ; on Humboldt, x,
300; health of, x, 305.

Age, sorrow and, v, 267, 268. See
also Old Age.

Age, the reforming, IV, 465; trust
your own, v, 293 ; our, our all, v,
323; our, living, the Creator's
latest work, vi, 58-60; our, a re-
naissance, IX, 320; of bronze in
England, vni, 579.

Age, the, spirit of, 11, loi; viii, 7;
art proper to, rv, 87, 88; rv, 137-
39; what is? v, 306; alive, v, 351;
eternity's fruit, v, 359, 360; ser-
vice for cash — or grandeur? vn,
525, 526; vm, 98; a critic, ix,
197; splendors of, x, 259. See also
Present Age.



Ages, verdict of the, iv, 150.

Agent and reagent, vii, 324.

Agra, Taj, x, 249.

Agriculture, in, 125.

Agrippa, Cornelius and Robert
Burton, vi, 291.

Aim, a grand, saves, v, 396, 397;
in book, vii, 433; man's, viii,
255, 256.

Akhlak-I-Jalaly, vii, 107.

Alboni, Hearing, vii, 443.

Alcott, A. B., ni, soi; 573; v, 322;
VI, 291, 301; VII, 222;ix, 119, 120;
his Record of a School, in, 509;
visit of, III, 559; journals of, iv,
1 1 ; writing of, iv, 61 ; 462 ; school
of, IV, 69; thought of, his limita-
tions, IV, 71, 72; school conversa-
tions of, IV, 75; symposium at
house of, IV, 113, 114; his large

^thought, IV, 149; attack on, iv,
205; vision of, iv, 237; austerity
of, IV, 334; views of, on a school,
IV, 348; though possessed of one
idea, large and human, iv, 403;
the teacher, iv, 454; the believer,
rv, 494; ray of oldest light, v, 51;

V, and Margaret Fuller, visit of, v,
292; ground of, v, 388; and E.
seeing law of compensation, vi,
74; English project of, vi, 169;
described at length; his greatness
^ and faults, vi, 170-78; fate of his
book, VI, 217; English allies of,

VI, 225; criticism of, vi,'386; the
wandering Emperor, vi, 472;
underprizes labor, vi, 544; com-
munity of, VII, 148; and his vic-
tims, VII, 179; on E.'s poems,

VII, 234; senses of, vii, 309; visit
of, to England, vii, 422; barriers
of, VII, 498; Thoreau and, vii,
499; service of, incommunicable,
VII, 524; schemes of, vli, 535;
Channing and Thoreau on, vii,
552; the pencil and sponge, viii,
70; parliament of, viii, 96; and
Platonic world, vui, 303; visits
his birthplace, vni, 316; problem
of, VIII, 362, 363; as companion,
his strength and weakness, viii,
396; expansion of, and trust in
Nature, viii, 413; courage of,
viii, 520; triumph of, at the Con-

versation, VIII, 562 ; his account of
himself, viii, 565; is never daz-
zled, IX, 35, 36; insight of, ix, 38,
39; on Fate, ix, 503, 504; like a
Labrador spar, ix, 540; talk
with, X, 10; 52; 99; New York
ladies and, x, 157; on memory,
X, 362.

Alcott, Junius, paper of, vi, 184.

Alcuin, VIII, 373.

Alexander, moonlight walk with
Cranch and, iii, 87.

Alexandria, n, 201; 203.

Alfieri, iv, 343; vii, 239, 240; on
French, viii, 521.

Alfred the Great, i, 206; viil, 564;
Asser and, vm, 381.

Algebraic x, vin, 419.

All Ben Abu Taleb, vni, 6.

All. See also Each and All.

All in one; one tree a grove, iv, 485.

All, the, every violation and mira-
cle melts into, rv, 56.

Allegory, history and, vm, 251.

Allen, Judge, on juries, vi, 433.

AUingham, William, vni, 207; his.
"Morning Thoughts," vm, 161;
poem of, X, 450, 451.

Alloy in men, vii, 180.

AUston, III, 487; V, 379; IX, 212;
verses of, iv, 295; pictures of, v,
205; 219; strength of, vi, 501;
methods of, vm, 108.

AUyne, Dr., vn, 171.

Almanac, soul's, vn, 553.

Alpine flowers, n, 216.

Alterity, v, 569.

Alternation, iv, 478.

Amalgam, vn, 125-27.

America, i, 201, 202; vm, 343; the
spirit of, I, 160-62; a field for
work, I, 245-48; young, i, 356;
388; pride in, in, 189; arts in,
IV, 109; all races come to, iv,
138; lags and pretends, rv, 483,
484; lost in her area, vi, 119;
seems trade and convention, vi,
390; free thought in, vi, 516;
wants male principle, vii, 218;
diffuse, unformed, vn, 286; dem-
ocratic, vn, 477; unlearned,
rx, 89; England and, ix, 571-
73; and English behavior in
Civil War, x, 78; speech on the



' Union, x, 84; opportunity of, x,
106; the leading guide of the
world, X, 19s; truth in, x, 337.

American artists, walk with, iii,

American clergy, iv, 413.

American conditions, v, 529-

American duties, x, 99.

American elementary education,

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