Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
 
III. Elements and Mottoes
Culture
 
      CAN rules or tutors educate
      The semigod whom we await?
      He must be musical,
      Tremulous, impressional,
      Alive to gentle influence        5
      Of landscape and of sky,
      And tender to the spirit-touch
      Of man’s or maiden’s eye:
      But, to his native centre fast,
      Shall into Future fuse the Past,        10
And the world’s flowing fates in his own mould recast. 1
 
Note 1. This poem in the verse-book begins,—
    Ah me! can maxims educate.
There is in “Fate” (Conduct of Life, p. 44) a passage on the necessity for the great to be impressionable. [back]
 
 
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