Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
II. May-Day and Other Pieces
DEEP in the man sits fast his fate
To mould his fortunes, mean or great:
Unknown to Cromwell as to me
Was Cromwell’s measure or degree;
Unknown to him as to his horse,        5
If he than his groom be better or worse.
He works, plots, fights, in rude affairs,
With squires, lords, kings, his craft compares,
Till late he learned, through doubt and fear,
Broad England harbored not his peer:        10
Obeying time, the last to own
The Genius from its cloudy throne.
For the prevision is allied
Unto the thing so signified;
Or say, the foresight that awaits        15
Is the same Genius that creates. 1
Note 1. “The reason why this or that man is fortunate is not to be told. It lies in the man; that is all anybody can tell you about it.”—“Character,” Essays, Second Series.
  “He [man] thinks his fate alien because the copula is hidden. But the soul contains the event that shall befall it.”—“Fate,” Conduct of Life. [back]

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