Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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sisters at home, who will not spare him, but will
pick and cavil, and tell the odious truth.

Education. He who betaketh him to a good
tree hath good shade; for the Cid knew how
to make a good knight, as a good groom knows
how to make a good horse.

Talk of Columbus or Newton. I tell you the
babe just born in the hovel yonder is the begin-
ning of a revolution as great as theirs.

I am far from thinking it late. I do not de-
spond at all whilst I hear the verdicts of Euro-
pean juries against us. Renan says so and so.
That does not hurt us at all. Arnold says thus
or thus : neither does that touch us. I think it
safer to be so blamed, than praised. Listen to
every censure in good part. It does not hit the
quick since we do not wince. And if you do
wince, that is best of all. Set yourself instantly

134 JOURNAL [Age 62

to mend the fault, and thank the critic as your
benefactor. And Ruskin has several rude and
some Ignorant things to say.

University. But be sure that scholars are se-
cured, that the scholar is not quite left out ; that
the Imagination is cared for and cherished ; that
the money-spirit does not turn him out; that
Enthusiasm is not repressed ; and Professor
Granny does not absorb all. Teach him Shak-
speare. Teach him Plato ; and see that real
examiners and awards are before you.

In the college, 'tis complained, money and
the vulgar respectability have the same ascend-
ant as in the city. What remedy ? There is but
one, namely, the arrival of genius, which in-
stantly takes the lead, and makes the fashion at

Charles XII said to Swedenborg, of the
Mathematics, " He who knew nothing of this
science did not deserve to be considered a
rational man"; — "a sentiment," adds Sweden-
borg, " worthy of a king."

Koran. " Paradise, whose breadth equalleth
the Heavens and the earth."


" Hell is a circle about the unbelieving."

" Only the law of God it is which has no
antecedent, and in which no change can be dis-

" Sleeping are men, and when they die, they

" The saint's best blush in Heaven is from
his heart-blood's red."

Always falls on his feet. When one of Na-
poleon's favorite schemes missed, he had the
faculty of taking up his genius {esprit), as he
said, and of carrying it somewhere else.


Ever since Pericles, there has not been a
young lover in all civil nations but has found
his affection met and celebrated by the beauti-
ful shining of the Evening Star. 'T is everywhere
the symbol of warm and tender joy. But does
aught of that glorious and penetrating power
belong to the planet itself, as known to the as-
tronomer ? I must read [how] Herschel, or
Leverrier, or whoever has best computed its
elements describes It, — but I shall find it cha-
otic and uninhabitable for a human race. The

136 JOURNAL [Age 62

poetic and moral enchantment is wholly subjec-
tive, we know.

[Beginning in the middle of April, Mr. Em-
erson was to give in Boston a series of lectures
— Philosophy of the People: I. Seven Metres of
Intellect; II. Instinct, Perception, Talent; III.
Genius, Imagination, Taste; IV. Laws of
Mind; V. Conduct of Intellect ; VI. Relation
of the Intellect to Morals. The extracts from
ML (Moral Law) are mostly notes for these.
A summary of this course may be found in the
Appendix to Cabot's Memoir, vol. ii, pp. 791-



Laws of the mind. I have first to keep the
promise of the last lecture, by treating Common
Sense, which, one would say, means the shortest
line between two points, — how to come at a
practical end, — and requires indispensably an
act oi your mind and not a quotation. But things
are rarely seen by direct light, but only by the
reflex light of others' opinion and culture, and
a new opinion drawn from the thing itself is
almost as astonishing as if, in the dark, the faces
of our friends should become luminous, and
show by inward light.

laws OF MIND

I . Identity. One law consumes all diversity.
1. Flowing or Transition, endless ascension.

3. Individualism or Bias. I want the world,
but on my terms.

4. Subjectiveness. All is as I am.

5. Detachment. Cell makes cell, and animal
animal, and thought opens into thought.

Dr. J ohnson said : " To temperance every day
is bright, and every hour propitious to dili-

" A man can do anything, if he will doggedly
set himself at work to it," etc.

iHteit^ct. " I have wandered," says Aunt
Mary, " into Brown's idea of knowing nothing
of mind but thoughts."

The Celestial Mind incapable of offence, of
haste, of care, of inhospitality, of peeping, of
memorv, incapable of embarrassment, of discour-
tesy, treating all with a sovereign equality.

Aunt M.irv wrote : " Religion, that home of
genius, will strengthen the mind as it does the

138 JOURNAL [Age 62

Immortality. "As a proof of endless being
we may rank that novelty which perpetually at-
tends life. On the borders of the grave the
hoary sage looks forward with an invariable
elasticity of mind or hope. After millions of
years, when on the verge of a new existence,
(for such is the nature of created existences
to be forever new to life,") etc. Aunt Mary's

Van Helmont says, " The soul understands in
peace and rest, and not in doubting." 'T is the
faith of Swedenborg and of Pascal, that piety is
an essential condition of science.

I should like to know what power to believe
in immortality any one could possess who had
not already a revelation of it in the phenomena
of intellect.

(From LN)

" When the wind bloweth strong, hoist thy sail to the
'T is joyous in storm not to flinch.
Keep her full ! keep her full ! none but cowards
strike sail,
Sooner founder than take in an inch."

Code of the Vikings.


March 26.

I often think of uses of an Academy, though
they did not rapidly appear when Sumner pro-
posed his bill ; and perhaps if it was national, and
must meet in Washington, or Philadelphia, —
even New York would be a far-away place for
me, — such benefits as I crave, it could not
serve. But to-day I should like to confide to a
proper committee to report on what are called
the " Sentences of Zoroaster," or the " Chaldaic
Oracles " ; to examine and report on those
extraordinary fragments, — so wise, deep, —
some of them poetic, — and such riddles, or so
frivolous, others, — and pronounce shortly, but
advisedly, what is their true history.

Zoroaster has a line saying that "violent
deaths are friendliest to the health of the soul."
Attribute that among his good fortunes to Lin-
coln. And in the same connection remember the
death of Pindar.

Can identity be claimed for a being whose life
is so often vicarious or belonging to an age or
generation? He is fallen in another; he rises in

Polarity. Every nature has its own. It was
found, that, if iron ranged itself north and south,

I40 JOURNAL [Age 6z

nickel or other substance ranged itself east
and west; and Faraday expected to find that
each chemic element might yet be found to
have its own determination or pole; and every
soul has a bias or polarity of its own, and each
new. Every one a magnet with a new north.

Not Niebuhr only lost his power of divina-
tion, but every poet has on the hills counted
the Pleiads, and mourned his lost star. Ah, the
decays of memory, of fancy, of the saliency of
thought! Who would not rather have a perfect
remembrance of all he thought and felt ' in a
certain high week, than to read any book that
has been published?

When I read a good book, say, one which
opens a literary question, I wish that life were
3000 years long, Who would not launch into
this Egyptian history, as opened by Wilkinson,
Champollion, Bunsen, but for the memento mori
which he reads on all sides ? Who is not pro-
voked by the temptation of the Sanscrit litera-
ture? And, as I wrote above, the Chaldaic
Oracles tempt me.' But so also does Algebra,

I Many of these, with other extracts from the Oriental
Scriptares, were printed by Mr. Emerson in the Dial. Their
age and authenticity as teachings of Zoroaster (Zertusht) are


and astronomy, and chemistry, and geology,
and botany. Perhaps, then, we must increase
the appropriation, and write 30,000 years. And,
if these years have correspondent effect with
the sixty years we have experienced, some ear-
nest scholar will have to amend by striking
out the word " years " and inserting " cen-

It is plain that the War has made many things
public that were once quite too private. A man
searches his mind for thoughts, and finds only
the old commonplaces ; but, at some moment,
on the old topic of the days, politics, he makes
a distinction he had not made ; he discerns a
little inlet not seen, before. Where was a wall
is now a door. The mind goes in and out, and
variously states in prose or poetry its new ex-
perience. It points it out to one and another,
who, of course, deny the alleged discovery.
But repeated experiments and affirmations make
it visible soon to others. The point of interest
is here, that these gates once opened never
swing back. The observers may come at their
leisure, and do at last satisfy themselves of the
fact. The thought, the doctrine, the right, hith-
erto not affirmed, is published in set proposi-

142 JOURNAL [Age 63

tions, in conversation of scholars, and at last in
the very choruses of songs.

The young hear it, and, as they have never
fought it, never known otherwise, they accept
it, vote for it at the polls, embody it in the laws.
And this perception, thus satisfied, reacts on the
senses to clarify them, so that it becomes more
indisputable. Thus it is no matter what the
opposition may be of presidents or kings or
majorities, but what the truth is as seen by one

I copy a scrap copy of my letter sent to Mrs.
C. T., when in Europe (perhaps never sent),
which I pick up to-day : —

" I have let go the unreturning opportunity
which your visit to Germany gave me to ac-
quaint you with Gisela Von Arnim, and Herman
Grimm her husband, and Joachim the violin-
ist, — and I who prize myself only on my en-
durance, that I am as good as new when the
others are gone, — I to be slow, derelict, and
dumb to you, in all your absence ! I shall re-
gret this as long as I live. How palsy creeps
over us with gossamer first, and ropes after-
wards ! And you have the prisoner when you
have once put your eye on him, as securely


as after the bolts are drawn. — How strange that
Charles Newcomb, whose secret you and I
alone have, should come to write novels.
Holmes's genius is all that is new, — nor that
to you. The worst is that we can do without
it. Grand behavior is better, if it rest on the
axis of the world."

Hegel ' seems to say, Look, I have sat long
gazing at the all but imperceptible transitions
of thought to thought, until I have seen with
eyes the true boundary. I know what is this,
and that. I know it, and have recorded it. It
can never be seen but by a patience like mine
added to a perception like mine. I know the
subtile boundary, as surely as the mineralogist
Haiiy knows the normal lines of his crystal,
and where the cleavage must begin. I know
that all observation will justify me, and to the
future metaphysician I say, that he may meas-
ure the power of his perception by the degree
of his accord with mine. This is the twilight
of the gods, predicted in the Scandinavian my-

I Mr. Emerson was reading The Secret of Hegel, sent him
by J. Hutchison Stirling (of Leith, Scotland), <i book in which
he took much interest.

144 JOURNAL [Age 63

Hegel's definition of liberty was, the spirit's
realization of itself .

Hafiz can only show a playing with magni-
tudes, but without ulterior aim.

Hafiz fears nothing ; he sees too far ; he sees

American Politics. I have the belief that of all
things the work of America is to make the ad-
vanced intelligence of mankind in the sufficiency
of morals practical ; since there is on every side
a breaking up of the faith in the old tradi-
tions of religion, and, of necessity, a return to
the omnipotence of the moral sentiment, that
in America this conviction is to be embodied in
the laws, in the jurisprudence, in international
law, in political economy. The lawyers have
always some glaring exceptions to their state-
ments of public equity, some reserve of sover-
eignty, tantamount to the Rob Roy rule that
might makes right. America should affirm and
establish that in no instance should the guns go
in advance of the perfect right. You shall not
make coups d'itat, and afterwards explain and
pay, but shall proceed like William Penn, or
whatever other Christian or humane person who


treats with the Indian or foreigner on principles
of honest trade and mutual advantage. Let us
wait a thousand years for the Sandwich Islands
before we seize them by violence.

Fame is ever righting itself. In the jangle of
criticism, Goethe is that which the intelligent
hermit supposes him to be, and can neither be
talked up nor down.

Beauty in Life. It is peremptory for good
living in houses in a cultivated age, that the
beautiful should never be out of thought. It is
not more important that you should provide
bread for the table, than that it should be put
there and used in a comely manner. You have
often a right to be angry with servants, but you
must carry your anger and chide without oifence
to beauty. Else, you have quarreled with your-
self as well as with them.

June 14.

But the surprise and dazzle of beauty is such,

that I thought to-day, that if beauty were the rule,

instead of the exception, men would give up


(From a loose sheet)

Thus lofty, thus universal is the principle
which we call Grace in nature ; not lodged in

146 JOURNAL [Age 63

certain lines or curves, not contained in colour-
boxes, or in rare and costly materials, but in
every stroke in which it is found, presenting a
kind of miniature of the world. Herein, in its
central character, we see our concern in it. The
perception of Beauty is an office of the Rea-
son — and therefore all men have property
in it.

(From LN)

Deity. In the speed of conversation L. said,
"Poor God did all he could to make them so,
but they steadily undid," etc. It recurs now as
an example of the organic generalization. The
speaker casts the apparent or hypothetical order
of things into a word and names it God ; but,
in the instant, the mind makes the distinction or
perceives the eternal and ever-present of the
Perfect, still whole and divine before him, and
God quits the name of God, and fills the uni-
verse as he did the moment before.

Bias. Seven men went through a field, one
after another. One was a farmer, he saw only
the grass ; the next was an astronomer, he
saw the horizon and the stars ; the physician no-
ticed the standing water and suspected miasma ;


he was followed by a soldier, who glanced over
the ground, found it easy to hold, and saw in
a moment how the troops could be disposed;
then came the geologist, who noticed the boul-
ders and the sandy loam ; after him came the
real-estate broker, who bethought him how the
line of the house-lots should run, where would
be the drive-way, and the stables. The poet ad-
mired the shadows cast by some trees, and still
more the music of some thrushes and a meadow

[Some extracts attributed to Taliessin, the
Welsh bard, precede this.]

I suspect Walt Whitman had been reading
these Welsh remains when he wrote his " Leaves
of Grass." Thus Taliessin sings : —

" I am water, I am a wren ;
I am a workman, I am a star;
I am a serpent ;
I am a cell, I am a chink ;
I am a depositary of song, I am a learned person."

Single speech Poets. Hogg only wrote " Kil-
meny"; Sampson Reed, "Genius"; Forceythe
WiIlson,"The Old Sergeant" ballad; Matthew
Arnold, " Thyrsis " ; S. Ferguson, " Song of

148 JOURNAL [Ace 63

the Anchor " ; Wolfe, " Burial of Sir John
Moore " ; Rouget de I'Isle, " Marseillaise " ;
Halleck, " Marco Bozzaris " ; Messenger," Old
wine, old books " ; Henry Taylor, " Philip Van
Artevelde " ; Daniel Webster, " Speech against
Hayne"; Lord Caernarvon, "Speech on Lord
Danby's Impeachment . . . " ; Henry Kirke
White, " Herb Rosemary " ; Pollok, "Oceana" ;
W. C. Bryant, " Waterfowl " ; George Borrow,
single verse in " Svend Vonved " ; Raleigh, (if
" Soul's Errand " is taken, nothing is left but)
" Pilgrimage."

Read Aunt Mary's MSS. yesterday — many
pages. They keep for me the old attraction;
though, when I sometimes have tried passages
on a stranger, I find something of fairy gold ; —
they need too much commentary, and are not
as incisive as on me. They make the best ex-
ample I have known of the power of the religion
of the Puritans in full energy, until fifty years
ago, in New England. The central theme of
these endless diaries is her relation to the Divine
Being ; the absolute submission of her will, with
the sole proviso, that she may know it is the
direct agency of God (and not of cold laws of
contingency, etc.), which bereaves and humiliates


her. But the religion of the diary, as of the class
it represented, is biographical ; it is the culture,
the poetry, the mythology, in which they per-
sonally believed themselves dignified, inspired,
judged, and dealt with, in the present and in
the future. And it certainly gives to life an
earnestness, and to Nature a sentiment, which
lacking, our later generation appears frivolous.

[Mr. Emerson's son and daughter Ellen, one
of their cousins, and some friends were camping
on the rocky plateau of Monadnoc for a week.
Miss Keyes, daughter of Hon. John S. Keyes,
of Concord, later became Mrs. Edward W.

July 2.

I went with Annie Keyes and Mr. Channing
on Wednesday, 27th June, to Troy, N. H.,
thence to the Mountain House in wagon, and,
with Edward and Tom Ward ' who had come
down to meet us, climbed the mountain. The
party already encamped were Moorfield Storey,
Ward, and Edward, for the men ; and Una
Hawthorne, Lizzie Simmons, and Ellen E. for
the maidens. They lived on the plateau just

I Thomas Wren Ward, son of Mr. Emerson's friend,
Samuel Gray Ward.

150 JOURNAL [Age 63

below the summit, and were just constructing
their one tent by spreading and tying India-
rubber blankets over a frame of spruce poles
large enough to hold the four ladies with sleep-
ing space, and to cover the knapsacks. The men
must find shelter, if need is, under the rocks.
The mountain at once justified the party and
their enthusiasm. It was romance enough to be
there, and behold the panorama, and learn one
by one all the beautiful novelties. The countrj'^
below is a vast champaign, — half cleared, half
forest, — with forty ponds in sight, studded with
villages and farmhouses, and, all around the
horizon, closed with mountain ranges. The eye
easily traces the valley followed by the Cheshire
Railroad, and just beyond it the valley of the
Connecticut River, then the Green Mountain
chain : in the north, the White Hills can be seen ;
and, on the east, the low mountains of Watatic
and Wachusett. We had hardly wonted our
eyes to the new Olympus, when the signs of
a near storm set all the scattered party on the
alert. The tent was to be finished and covered,
and the knapsacks piled in it. The wanderers
began to appear on the heights, and to descend,
and much work in camp was done in brief time.
I looked about for a shelter in the rocks, and


not till the rain began to fall, crept into it. I
called to Channing, and afterwards to Tom
Ward, who came, and we sat substantially dry,
if the seat was a little cold, and the wall a little
dripping, and pretty soon, a large brook roared
between the rocks, a little lower than our feet
hung. Meantime, the thunder shook the moun-
tain, and much of the time was continuous

The storm refused to break up. One and an-
other adventurer rushed out to see the signs,
and especially the sudden torrents, little Niag-
aras, that were pouring over the upper ledges,
and descending upon our plateau. But every-
body was getting uncomfortably wet, the pros-
pect was not good for the night, and, in spite
of all remonstrance on the part of the young
ladies, I insisted that they must go down with
me to the " Mountain House," for the night.
All the four girls at last were ready, and de-
scended with Storey and me, — thus leaving
the tent free to be occupied by Mr. Channing,
Tom Ward, and Edward. The storm held on
most of the night, but we were slowly drying
and warming in the comfortable inn.

, Next day, the weather slowly changed, and
we climbed again the hill, and were repaid for

152 JOURNAL [Age 63

all mishaps by the glory of the afternoon and
evening. Edward went up with me to the sum-
mit, up all sorts of Giant stairs, and showed the
long spur with many descending peaks on the
Dublin side. The rock-work is interesting and
grand ; — the clean cleavage, the wonderful slabs,
the quartz dikes, the rock torrents in some parts,
the uniform presence on the upper surface of the
glacial lines or scratches, all in one self- same
direction. Then every glance below apprises
you how you are projected out into stellar space,
as a sailor on a ship's bowsprit out into the sea.
We look down here on a hundred farms and
farmhouses, but never see horse or man. For
our eyes the country is depopulated. Around us
the arctic sparrow, Fringilla nivalis, flies and
peeps, the ground-robin also ; but you can hear
the distant song of the wood-thrushes ascending
from the green belts below. I found the picture
charming, and more than remunerative. . Later,
from the plateau, at sunset, I saw the great
shadow of Monadnoc lengthen over the vast
plain, until it touched the horizon. The earth
and sky filled themselves with all ornaments,
— haloes, rainbows, and little pendulums of
cloud would hang down till they touched the
top of a hill, giving it the appearance of a smok-


ing volcano. The wind was north, the evening
cold, but the camp-fire kept the party comfort-
able, whilst Storey, with Edward for chorus,
sang a multitude of songs to their great delecta-
tion. The night was forbiddingly cold, — the
tent kept the girls in vital heat, but the youths
could hardly keep their blood in circulation, the
rather, that they had spared too many of their
blankets to the girls and to the old men. Them-
selves had nothing for it but to rise and cut
wood and bring it to the fire, which Mr. Chan-
ning watched and fed ; and this service of fetch-
ing wood was done by Tom Ward once to his
great peril during the night. In pitching a form-
less stump over into the ravine, he fell, and in
trying to clear himself from the stump now be-
hind him, flying and falling, got a bad contusion.

[At Commencement, Mr. Emerson received
the degree of Doctor of Laws from Harvard

I see with joy the Irish emigrants landing at
Boston, at New York, and say to myself. There
they go — to school.

Hazlitt, Lovelace's editor, says, " Wither's
song, ' Shall L wasting in despair,' is certainly

154 JOURNAL [Age 63

superior to the 'Song to Althea.'" — I will in-
stantly seek and read it.

I have read it, and find that of Lovelace much
the best.

There is this to be said in favor of drinking,
that it takes the drunkard first out of society,
then out of the world. The Turk is for the late
centuries " the sick man," and sick, it is said,
from his use of tobacco, which the great Turks
of Mahomet's period did riot know.

The scatterbrain. Tobacco. Yet a man of no
conversation should smoke.

In classes of men, what a figure is Charles
Lamb ! so much wit lodged in such a saccharine

What a saint is Milton ! How grateful we
are to the man of the world who obeys the
morale, as in humility, and in the obligation
to serve mankind. True genius always has
these inspirations.

Humanity always equal to itself; the religious
understand each other under all mythologies,
and say the same thing. Homer and ^schylus
in all the rubbish of fables speak out clearly
ever and anon the noble sentiments of all ages.


Calvinism was as injurious to the justice as

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