Verse > Anthologies > George Willis Cooke, ed. > The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology
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George Willis Cooke, comp.  The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology.  1903.
 
Emerson
By Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888)
 
I
MISFORTUNE to have lived not knowing thee!
’T were not high living, nor to noblest end,
Who, dwelling near, learned not sincerity,
Rich friendship’s ornament that still doth lend
To life its consequence and propriety.        5
Thy fellowship was my culture, noble friend:
By the hand thou took’st me, and didst condescend
To bring me straightway into thy fair guild;
And life-long hath it been high compliment
By that to have been known, and thy friend styled,        10
Given to rare thought and to learning bent;
Whilst in my straits an angel on me smiled.
Permit me, then, thus honored, still to be
A scholar in thy university.
 
II
Hierophant, and lyrist of the soul!
        15
Clear insight thine of universal mind;
While from its crypts the nascent Powers unroll,
And represent to consciousness the Whole.
Each in its order seeks its natural kind,
These latent or apparent, stir or sleep,        20
Watchful o’er widening fields of airy space,
Or slumbering sightless in the briny deep;—
Thou, far above their shows, servant of Grace,
Tread’st the bright way from Spirit down to Sense,
Interpreting all symbols to thy race,—        25
Commanding vistas of the fair Immense,
And glimpses upward far, where, sons of Heaven,
Sit in Pantheon throned the Sacred Seven.
 
III
Pleased, I recall those hours, so fair and free,
When all the long forenoons we two did toss        30
From lip to lip, in lively colloquy,
Plato, Plotinus, or famed schoolman’s gloss,
Disporting in rapt thought and ecstasy.
Then by the tilting rail Millbrook we cross,
And sally through the fields to Walden wave,        35
Plunging within the cove, or swimming o’er;
Through woodpaths wending, he with gesture quick
Rhymes deftly in mid-air with circling stick,
Skims the smooth pebbles from the leafy shore,
Or deeper ripples raises as we lave;        40
Nor slumb’rous pillow touches at late night,
Till converse with the stars his eyes invite.
 
 
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