Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
III. Elements and Mottoes
THIS is he, who, felled by foes,
Sprung harmless up, refreshed by blows:
He to captivity was sold,
But him no prison-bars would hold:
Though they sealed him in a rock,        5
Mountain chains he can unlock:
Thrown to lions for their meat,
The crouching lion kissed his feet;
Bound to the stake, no flames appalled,
But arched o’er him an honoring vault.        10
This is he men miscall Fate,
Threading dark ways, arriving late,
But ever coming in time to crown
The truth, and hurl wrong-doers down. 1
He is the oldest, and best known,        15
More near than aught thou call’st thy own,
Yet, greeted in another’s eyes.
Disconcerts with glad surprise. 2
This is Jove, who, deaf to prayers,
Floods with blessings unawares.        20
Draw, if thou canst, the mystic line
Severing rightly his from thine,
Which is human, which divine.
Note 1. See “Fate” (p. 21 in Essays, First Series) and also the poems “Nemesis” and “Voluntaries.” [back]
Note 2. Compare the passage in the Address to the Divinity Students Nature, Address and Lectures, p. 121). [back]

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