Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
 
I. Poems
Initial, Dæmonic and Celestial Love
III. The Celestial Love
 
BUT God said,
‘I will have a purer gift;
There is smoke in the flame;
New flowerets bring, new prayers uplift,
And love without a name.        5
Fond children, ye desire
To please each other well;
Another round, a higher,
Ye shall climb on the heavenly stair,
And selfish preference forbear;        10
And in right deserving,
And without a swerving
Each from your proper state,
Weave roses for your mate.
 
‘Deep, deep are loving eyes,        15
Flowed with naphtha fiery sweet;
And the point is paradise,
Where their glances meet:
Their reach shall yet be more profound,
And a vision without bound:        20
The axis of those eyes sun-clear
Be the axis of the sphere:
So shall the lights ye pour amain
Go, without check or intervals,
Through from the empyrean walls        25
Unto the same again.’
 
Higher far into the pure realm,
Over sun and star,
Over the flickering Dæmon film,
Thou must mount for love;        30
Into vision where all form
In one only form dissolves;
In a region where the wheel
On which all beings ride
Visibly revolves;        35
Where the starred, eternal worm
Girds the world with bound and term;
Where unlike things are like;
Where good and ill,
And joy and moan,        40
Melt into one.
 
There Past, Present, Future, shoot
Triple blossoms from one root;
Substances at base divided,
In their summits are united;        45
There the holy essence rolls,
One through separated souls;
And the sunny Æon sleeps
Folding Nature in its deeps,
And every fair and every good,        50
Known in part, or known impure,
To men below,
In their archetypes endure.
The race of gods,
Or those we erring own,        55
Are shadows flitting up and down
In the still abodes.
The circles of that sea are laws
Which publish and which hide the cause.
 
Pray for a beam        60
Out of that sphere,
Thee to guide and to redeem.
O, what a load
Of care and toil,
By lying use bestowed,        65
From his shoulders falls who sees
The true astronomy,
The period of peace.
Counsel which the ages kept
Shall the well-born soul accept.        70
As the overhanging trees
Fill the lake with images,—
As garment draws the garment’s hem,
Men their fortunes bring with them.
By right or wrong,        75
Lands and goods go to the strong.
Property will brutely draw
Still to the proprietor;
Silver to silver creep and wind,
And kind to kind.        80
 
Nor less the eternal poles
Of tendency distribute souls.
There need no vows to bind
Whom not each other seek, but find. 1
They give and take no pledge or oath,—        85
Nature is the bond of both:
No prayer persuades, no flattery fawns,—
Their noble meanings are their pawns.
Plain and cold is their address, 2
Power have they for tenderness;        90
And, so thoroughly is known
Each other’s counsel by his own,
They can parley without meeting;
Need is none of forms of greeting;
They can well communicate        95
In their innermost estate;
When each the other shall avoid,
Shall each by each be most enjoyed.
 
Not with scarfs or perfumed gloves
Do these celebrate their loves:        100
Not by jewels, feasts and savors,
Not by ribbons or by favors,
But by the sun-spark on the sea,
And the cloud-shadow on the lea,
The soothing lapse of morn to mirk,        105
And the cheerful round of work.
Their cords of love so public are,
They intertwine the farthest star:
The throbbing sea, the quaking earth,
Yield sympathy and signs of mirth;        110
Is none so high, so mean is none,
But feels and seals this union;
Even the fell Furies are appeased,
The good applaud, the lost are eased.
 
Love’s hearts are faithful, but not fond,        115
Bound for the just, but not beyond;
Not glad, as the low-loving herd,
Of self in other still preferred,
But they have heartily designed
The benefit of broad mankind.        120
And they serve men austerely,
After their own genius, clearly, 3
Without a false humility;
For this is Love’s nobility,—
Not to scatter bread and gold,        125
Goods and raiment bought and sold;
But to hold fast his simple sense,
And speak the speech of innocence,
And with hand and body and blood,
To make his bosom-counsel good.        130
He that feeds men serveth few;
He serves all who dares be true. 4
 
Note 1. The doctrine of the blessed fatality of friendship which is found in the essay on the Over-Soul (Essays, First Series, p. 294). See also the last lines of the motto of “Compensation.” [back]
Note 2. This was so true of his friend Thoreau, who yet had ever tenderness concealed under a stoic exterior, that Mr. Emerson said of him, “One would as soon think of taking the arm of an elm-tree as Henry’s.” [back]
Note 3. “Let us not have this childish luxury in our regards, but the austerest worth; let us approach our friend with an audacious trust in the truth of his heart, in the breadth, impossible to be overturned, of his foundations.”—“Friendship,” Essays, First Series. [back]
Note 4. “We owe to man higher success than food and fire. We owe to man, man.”—“Domestic Life,” Society and Solitude. [back]
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors