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RALPH WALDO EMERSON.
flood, pouring through these streets, of all qualities be o'building. Upwards of five hundred thousand and ages, knowest thou whence it is coming, whither two-legged animals without feathers lie round us, in it is going? Aus der ewigkeit, zu der ewigkeit hin: horizontal position; their heads all in nightcaps, and From eternity, onward to eternity! These are full of the foolishest dreams. Riot cries aloud, and apparitions: what else? Are they not souls ren. staggers and swaggers in his rank dens of shame; dered visible; in bodies, that took shape and will and the mother, with streaming hair, kneels over her lose it, melting into air? Their solid pavement is a pallid dying infant, whose cracked lips only her tears picture of the sense; they walk on the bosom of now moisten.—All these heaped and huddled tonothing, blank time is behind them and before them. gether, with nothing but a little carpentry and Or fanciest thou, the red and yellow clothes-screen masonry between them ;-crammed in, like salted yonder, with spurs on its heels, and feather in its fish, in their barrel ;-or weltering, shall I say, like crown, is but of to-day, without a yesterday or a an Egyptian pitcher of tamed vipers, each struggling to-morrow; and had not rather its ancestor alive to get its head above the other: such work goes on when Hengst and Horsa overran thy island? Friend, under that smoke.counterpane!—But I, mein Werther, thou seest here a living link in that tissue of history, sit above it all; I am alone with the stars.” which inweaves all being: watch well, or it will be past thee, and seen no more.”
LOVE. “ Ach mein Lieber!” said he once, at midnight, when he had returned from the coffee-house, in rather earnest talk, “it is a true sublimity to dwell Every soul is a celestial Venus to every other soul. here. These fringes of lamp-light, struggling up The heart has its Sabbaths and jubilees in which the through smoke and thousand-fold exhalation, some world appears as a hymeneal feast, and all natural fathoms into the ancient reign of night, what thinks sounds and the circle of the seasons are erotic odes boots of them, as he leads his hunting dogs over and dances. Love is omnipresent in nature as the zenith, in their leash of sidereal fire? That motive and reward. Love is our highest word and stified hum of midnight, when traffic has lain down the synonym of God. to rest; and the chariot-wheels of vanity, still rolling Every promise of the soul has innumerable fulhere and there through distant streets, are bearing filments; each of its joys ripens into new want. her to halls roofed in, and lighted to the due pitch Nature, uncontainable, flowing, forelooking, in the for her; and only vice and misery to prowl or to first sentiment of kindness anticipates already a moan like nightbirds, are abroad; that hum, I say, benevolence which shall lose all particular regards like the stertorous, unquiet slumber of sick life, is in its general light. The introduction to this felicity heard in heaven! Oh, under that hideous coverlet is in a private and tender relation of one to one, of vapours, and putrefactions, and unimaginable which is the enchantment of human life; which, like gases, what a fermenting.vat lies simmering and a certain divine rage and enthusiasm, seizes on man hid! The joyful and the sorrowful are there; men at one period and works a revolution in his mind and are dying there, men are being born, men are pray- body; unites him to his race, pledges him to the ing,-on the other side of a brick partition, men are domestic and civic relations, carries him with new cursing; and around them all is the vast, void night. sympathy into nature, enhances the power of the The proud grandee still lingers in his perfumed senses, opens the imagination, adds to his character saloons, or reposes within
damask curtains; | heroic and sacred attributes, establishes marriage and wretchedness cowers into truckle-beds, or shivers gives permanence to human society. hunger-stricken into its lair of straw: in obscure The natural association of the sentiment of love cellars, Rouge-et-Noir languidly emits its voice-of- with the heyday of the blood seems to require that destiny to haggard hungry villains; while councillors in order to portray it in vivid tints, which every of state sit plotting, and playing their high chess- youth and maid should confess to be true to their game, whereof the pawns are men. The lover throbbing experience, one must not be too old. The whispers his mistress that the coach is ready; and delicious fancies of youth reject the least savor of a she, full of hope and fear, glides down, to fly with mature philosophy, as chilling with age and pedantry him over the borders; the thief, still more silently, their purple bloom. And therefore I know I incur sets to his picklocks and crowbars, or lurks in wait the imputation of unnecessary hardness and stoicism till the watchmen first snore in their boxes. Gay from those who compose the court and parliament mansions, with supper-rooms, and dancing.rooms, of love. But from these formidable censors I shall are full of light and music and high-swelling hearts; appeal to my seniors. For, it is to be considered that but in the condemned cells, the pulse of life beats this passion of which we speak, though it begin with tremulous and faint, and bloodshot eyes look out the young, yet forsakes not the old, or rather suffers through the darkness, which is around and within, no one who is truly its servant to grow old, but for the light of a stern last morning. Six men are to marks the aged participators of it not less than the be hanged on the morrow: comes no hammering tender maiden, though in a different and nobler sort. from the Rabenstein?—their gallows must even now For it is a fire that, kindling its first embers in the
narrow nook of a private bosom, caught from a ing her satchel: he holds her books to help her, and wandering spark out of another private heart, glows instantly it seems to him as if she removed herself and enlarges until it warms and beams upon multi- from him infinitely, and was a sacred precinct. tudes of men and women, upon the universal heart Among the throng of girls he runs rudely enough, of all, and so lights up the whole world and all nature but one alone distances him; and these two little with its generous flaines. It matters not therefore neighbors, that were so close just now, have learned whether we attempt to describe the passion at twenty, to respect each other's personality. Or who can at thirty, or at eighty years. He who paints it at the avert his eyes from the engaging half-artful, halffirst period will lose some of its later, he who paints artless ways of school girls who go into the country it at the last, some of its earlier traits. Only it is to shops to buy a skein of silk or a sheet of paper, and be hoped that by patience and the muses' aid we may talk half an hour about nothing with the broad-faced, attain to that inward view of the law which shall good-natured shop-boy. In the village they are on describe a truth ever young, ever beautiful, so cen- a perfect equality, which love delights in, and withtral that it shall commend itself to the eye at what- out any coquetry the happy, affectionate nature of ever angle beholden.
woman flows out in this pretty gossip. The girls And the first condition is that we must leave a may have little beauty, yet plainly do they establish too close and lingering adherence to the actual, to between them and the good boy the most agreeable, facts, and study the sentiment as it appeared in hope, confiding relations; what with their fun and their and not in history. For each man sees his own life earnest, about Edgar and Jonas and Almira, and who defaced and disfigured, as the life of man is not to was invited to the party, and who danced at the his imagination. Each man over his own dancing-school, and when the singing-school would experience a certain slime of error, whilst that of begin, and other nothings concerning which the other men looks fair and ideal. Let any man go parties cooed. By and by that boy wants a wife, and back to those delicious relations which make the very truly and heartily will he know where to find a beauty of his life, which have given him sincerest sincere and sweet mate, without any risk such as instruction and nourishment, he will shrink and Milton deplores as incident to scholars and great shrink. Alas! I know not why, but infinite comfunctions embitter in mature life all the remem. I have been told that my philosophy is unsocial, brances of budding sentiment, and cover every and that in public discourses my reverence for the beloved name. Every thing is beautiful seen from intellect makes me unjustly cold to the personal the point of the intellect, or as truth. But all is sour relations. But now I almost shrink at the rememif seen as experience. Details are always melancholy; brance of such disparaging words. For persons are the plan is seemly and noble. It is strange how pain. love's world, and the coldest philosopher cannot ful is the actual world—the painful kingdom of time recount the debt of the young soul wandering here and place. There dwells care and canker and fear. in the nature to the power of love, without being With thought, with the ideal, is immortal hilarity, the tempted to unsay, as treasonable to nature, aught rose of joy. Round it all the muses sing. But with derogatory to the social instincts. For, though the names and persons and the partial interests of to-day celestial rapture falling out of heaven seizes only and yesterday is grief.
upon those of tender age, and although a beauty overThe strong bent of nature is seen in the proportion powering all analysis or comparison and putting us which this topic of personal relations usurps in the quite beside ourselves we can seldom see after thirty conversation of society. What do we wish to know years, yet the remembrance of these visions outlasts of any worthy person so much as how he has sped in all other remembrances, and is a wreath of flowers the history of this sentiment? What books in the on the oldest brows. But here is a strange fact; it circulating libraries circulate? How we glow over may seem to many men, in revising their experience, these novels of passion, when the story is told with that they have no fairer page in their life's book than any spark of truth and nature! And what fastens the delicious memory of some passages wherein attention, in the intercourse of life, like any passage affection contrived to give a witchcraft, surpassing the betraying affection between two parties? Perhaps deep attraction of its own truth, to a parcel of acci. we never saw them before and never shall meet them dental and trivial circumstances. In looking backward again. But we see them exchange a glance or betray they may find several things which were not the a deep emotion, and we are no longer strangers. We charm have more reality to this groping memory understand them and take the warmest interest in than the charm itself which embalmed them. But be the development of the romance. All mankind love a our experience in particulars what it may, no man lover. The earliest demonstrations of complacency ever forgot the visitations of that power to his heart and kindness are nature's most winning pictures. It and brain, which created all things new; which was is the dawn of civility and grace in the coarse and the dawn in him of music, poetry and art; which rustic. The rude village boy teazes the girls about made the face of nature radiant with purple light, the school-house door;—but to-day he comes run. the morning and the night varied enchantments; ning into the entry and meets one fair child arrang. when a single tone of one voice could make the heart
beat, and the most trivial circumstance associated good verses under the inspiration of passion, who with one form is put in the amber of memory; when cannot write well under any other circumstances. he became all eye when one was present, and all The like force has the passion over all his nature. memory when
was gone; when the youth It expands the sentiment; it makes the clown gentle becomes a watcher of windows and studious of a and gives the coward heart. Into the most pitiful glove, a veil, a ribbon, or the wheels of a carriage; and abject it will infuse a heart and courage to defy when no place is too solitary and none too silent for the world, so only it have the countenance of the him who has richer company and sweeter conversa- beloved object. In giving him to another it still tion in his new thoughts than any old friends, though more gives him to himself. He is a new man, with best and purest, can give him; for, the figures, the new perceptions, new and keener purposes, and a motions, the words of the beloved object are not, like religious solemnity of character and aims. He does other images, written in water, but, as Plutarch said, not longer appertain to his family and society. He "enameled in fire,” and make the study of midnight is somewhat. He is a person. He is a soul.
And here let us examine a little nearer the nature “Thou art not gone being gone, where'er thou art,
of that influence which is thus potent over the human Thou leav'st in him thy watchful eyes, in him
youth. Let us approach and admire beauty, whose thy loving heart.”
revelation to man we now celebrate,-beauty, wel.
come as the sun whenever it pleases to shine, which In the noon and the afternoon of life we still throb at
pleases everybody with it and with themselves. the recollection of days when happiness was not Wonderful is its charm. It seems sufficient to itself. happy enough, but must be drugged with the relish The lover cannot paint his maiden to his fancy poor of pain and fear; for he touched the secret of the
and solitary. Like a tree in flower, so much soft, matter who said of love,
budding, informing loveliness is society for itself; “ All other pleasures are not worth its pains :" and she teaches his eye why beauty was ever painted and when the day was not long enough, but the night
with loves and graces attending her steps. Her too must be consumed in keen recollections; when
existence makes the world rich. Though she the head boiled all night on the pillow with the
extrudes all other persons from his attention as generous deed it resolved on; when the moonlight cheap and unworthy, she indemnifies him by carry. was as a pleasing fever, and the stars were letters and ing out her own being into somewhat impersonal, the flowers ciphers and the air was coined into song;
large, mundane, so that the maiden stands to him when all business seemed an impertinence, and all
for a representative of all select things and virtues. men and women, running to and fro in the streets,
For that reason the lover sees never personal resemmere pictures.
blances in his mistress to her kindred or to others. The passion re-makes the world for the youth. It
His friends find in her a likeness to her mother, or makes all things alive and significant. Nature grow's
her sisters, or to persons not of her blood. The conscious. Every bird on the boughs of the tree
lover sees no resemblance except to summer even. sings now to his heart and soul. Almost the notes ings and diamond mornings, to rainbows and the are articulate. The clouds have faces as he looks on them. The trees of the forest, the waving grass and Beauty is ever that divine thing the ancients the peeping flowers have grown intelligent; and
esteemed it. It is, they said, the flowering of virtue. almost he fears to trust them with the secret which Who can analyze the nameless charm which glances they seem to invite. Yet nature soothes and sym
from one and another face and form?
We are pathizes. In the green solitude he finds a dearer touched with emotion of tenderness and compla. home than with men.
cency, but we cannot find whereat this dainty emo
tion, this wandering gleam, points. It is destroyed “ Fountain-heads and pathless groves,
for the imagination by any attempt to refer it to Places which pale passion loves,
organization. Nor does it point to any relations of • Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
friendship or love that society knows and has, but, Are safely housed, save bats and owls, A midnight bell, a passing groan,
as it seems to me, to a quiet other and unattainable
sphere, to relations of transcendent delicacy and These are the sounds we feed upon.”
sweetness, a true faerie land; to what roses and vioBehold there in the wood the fine madman! He is lets hint and foreshow. We cannot get at beauty. in a palace of sweet sounds and sights; he dilates; he is Its nature is like opaline doves' neck lustres, hover. twice a man; he walks with arm akimbo; he solilo- ing and evanescent. Herein it resembles the most quizes; he accosts the grass and the trees; he feels excellent things, which all have this rainbow char. the blood of the violet, the clover and the lily in his acter, defying all attempts at appropriation and use. veins; and he talks with the brook that wets his foot. What else did Jean Paul Richter signify, when he
The causes that have sharpened his perceptions of said to music, “Away! Away! Thou speakest to natural beauty have made him love music and verse. me of things which in all my endless life I have not It is a fact often observed, that men have written found and shall not find." The same fact may be
song of birds.