Sunday, June 19, 2011

A few poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Self Reliance"

Henceforth, please God, forever I forego
The yoke of men's opinions.  I will be
Light hearted as a bird, and live with God.
I find him in the bottom of my heart,
I hear continually his voice therein.

The little needle always knows the North,
The little bird remembereth his note,
And this wise Seer within me never errs.
I never follow, when I act aright.
[October 9, 1832]


And when I am entombed in my place,
Be it remembered of a single man,
He never, though he dearly loved his race,
For fear of human eyes swerved from his plan.

Oh what is Heaven but the fellowship
Of minds that each can stand against the world
By its own meek and incorruptible will?

The days pass over me
And I am still the same;
The aroma of my life is gone
With the flower with which it came.

[1833]


"The Informing Spirit"


                I

There is no great and no small
To the Soul that maketh all:
And where it cometh, all things areI
And it cometh everywhere.

                II

I am owner of the sphere,
Of the seven stars and the solar year,
Of Caesar's hand, and Plato's brain,
Of Lord Christ's heart, and Shakespeare's strain.
[1904 ]


"Grace"

How much, preventing God, how much I owe
To the defences thou hast round me set;
Example, custom, fear, occasion slow,--
These scorned bondmen were my parapet.
I dare not peep over this parapet
To gauge with glance the roaring gulf below,
The depths of sin to which I had descended,
Had not these me against myself defended.
[1842]



"The Apology"

Think me not unkind and rude
    That I walk alone in grove and glen;
I go to the god of the wood
    To fetch this word of men.

Tax not my sloth that I
    Fold my arms beside the brook;
Each cloud that floated in the sky
    Writes a letter in my book.

Chide me not, laborious band,
    For the idle flowers I brought;
Every aster in my hand
    Goes home loaded with a thought.

There was never mystery
    But 't is figured in the flowers;
Was never secret history
    But birds tell it in the bowers.

One harvest from they field
    Homeward brought the oxen strong;
A second crop thine acres yield
    Which I gather in a song.

[1847]

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