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Dæmonic Love

Written by: Ralph Waldo Emerson | Biography
 Man was made of social earth,
Child and brother from his birth;
Tethered by a liquid cord
Of blood through veins of kindred poured,
Next his heart the fireside band
Of mother, father, sister, stand;
Names from awful childhood heard,
Throbs of a wild religion stirred,
Their good was heaven, their harm was vice,
Till Beauty came to snap all ties,
The maid, abolishing the past,
With lotus-wine obliterates
Dear memory's stone-incarved traits,
And by herself supplants alone
Friends year by year more inly known.
When her calm eyes opened bright, All were foreign in their light.
It was ever the self-same tale, The old experience will not fail,— Only two in the garden walked, And with snake and seraph talked.
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.
Fond children, ye desire To please each other well; Another round, a higher, Ye shall climb on the heavenly stair, And selfish preference forbear; And in right deserving, And without a swerving Each from your proper state, Weave roses for your mate.
Deep, deep are loving eyes, 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: The axis of those eyes sun-clear Be the axis of the sphere; Then shall the lights ye pour amain Go without check or intervals, Through from the empyrean walls, Unto the same again.
Close, close to men, Like undulating layer of air, Right above their heads, The potent plain of Dæmons spreads.
Stands to each human soul its own, For watch, and ward, and furtherance In the snares of nature's dance; And the lustre and the grace Which fascinate each human heart, Beaming from another part, Translucent through the mortal covers, Is the Dæmon's form and face.
To and fro the Genius hies, A gleam which plays and hovers Over the maiden's head, And dips sometimes as low as to her eyes.
Unknown, — albeit lying near, — To men the path to the Dæmon sphere, And they that swiftly come and go, Leave no track on the heavenly snow.
Sometimes the airy synod bends, And the mighty choir descends, And the brains of men thenceforth, In crowded and in still resorts, Teem with unwonted thoughts.
As when a shower of meteors Cross the orbit of the earth, And, lit by fringent air, Blaze near and far.
Mortals deem the planets bright Have slipped their sacred bars, And the lone seaman all the night Sails astonished amid stars.
Beauty of a richer vein, Graces of a subtler strain, Unto men these moon-men lend, And our shrinking sky extend.
So is man's narrow path By strength and terror skirted, Also (from the song the wrath Of the Genii be averted! The Muse the truth uncolored speaking), The Dæmons are self-seeking; Their fierce and limitary will Draws men to their likeness still.
The erring painter made Love blind, Highest Love who shines on all; Him radiant, sharpest-sighted god None can bewilder; Whose eyes pierce The Universe, Path-finder, road-builder, Mediator, royal giver, Rightly-seeing, rightly-seen, Of joyful and transparent mien.
'Tis a sparkle passing From each to each, from me to thee, Perpetually, Sharing all, daring all, Levelling, misplacing Each obstruction, it unites Equals remote, and seeming opposites.
And ever and forever Love Delights to build a road; Unheeded Danger near him strides, Love laughs, and on a lion rides.
But Cupid wears another face Born into Dæmons less divine, His roses bleach apace, His nectar smacks of wine.
The Dæmon ever builds a wall, Himself incloses and includes, Solitude in solitudes: In like sort his love doth fall.
He is an oligarch, He prizes wonder, fame, and mark, He loveth crowns, He scorneth drones; He doth elect The beautiful and fortunate, And the sons of intellect, And the souls of ample fate, Who the Future's gates unbar, Minions of the Morning Star.
In his prowess he exults, And the multitude insults.
His impatient looks devour Oft the humble and the poor, And, seeing his eye glare, They drop their few pale flowers Gathered with hope to please Along the mountain towers, Lose courage, and despair.
He will never be gainsaid, Pitiless, will not be stayed.
His hot tyranny Burns up every other tie; Therefore comes an hour from Jove Which his ruthless will defies, And the dogs of Fate unties.
Shiver the palaces of glass, Shrivel the rainbow-colored walls Where in bright art each god and sibyl dwelt Secure as in the Zodiack's belt; And the galleries and halls Wherein every Siren sung, Like a meteor pass.
For this fortune wanted root In the core of God's abysm, Was a weed of self and schism: And ever the Dæmonic Love Is the ancestor of wars, And the parent of remorse.



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