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Best Famous Ralph Waldo Emerson Poems

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Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Give All to Love

GIVE all to love; 
Obey thy heart; 
Friends kindred days  
Estate good fame  
Plans credit and the Muse¡ª 5 
Nothing refuse.
'Tis a brave master; Let it have scope: Follow it utterly Hope beyond hope: 10 High and more high It dives into noon With wing unspent Untold intent; But it is a god 15 Knows its own path And the outlets of the sky.
It was never for the mean; It requireth courage stout Souls above doubt 20 Valour unbending: Such 'twill reward;¡ª They shall return More than they were And ever ascending.
25 Leave all for love; Yet hear me yet One word more thy heart behoved One pulse more of firm endeavour¡ª Keep thee to-day 30 To-morrow for ever Free as an Arab Of thy beloved.
Cling with life to the maid; But when the surprise 35 First vague shadow of surmise Flits across her bosom young Of a joy apart from thee Free be she fancy-free; Nor thou detain her vesture's hem 40 Nor the palest rose she flung From her summer diadem.
Though thou loved her as thyself As a self of purer clay; Though her parting dims the day 45 Stealing grace from all alive; Heartily know When half-gods go The gods arrive.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Sacrifice

THOUGH love repine and reason chafe  
There came a voice without reply ¡ª 
'T is man's perdition to be safe, 
When for the truth he ought to die.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Ode to Beauty

 EXULTING BEAUTY,­phantom of an hour, 
Whose magic spells enchain the heart, 
Ah ! what avails thy fascinating pow'r, 
Thy thrilling smile, thy witching art ? 
Thy lip, where balmy nectar glows; 
Thy cheek, where round the damask rose 
A thousand nameless Graces move, 
Thy mildly speaking azure eyes, 
Thy golden hair, where cunning Love 
In many a mazy ringlet lies? 
Soon as thy radiant form is seen, 
Thy native blush, thy timid mien, 
Thy hour is past ! thy charms are vain! 
ILL-NATURE haunts thee with her sallow train, 
Mean JEALOUSY deceives thy list'ning ear, 
And SLANDER stains thy cheek with many a bitter tear.
In calm retirement form'd to dwell, NATURE, thy handmaid fair and kind, For thee, a beauteous garland twin'd; The vale-nurs'd Lily's downcast bell Thy modest mien display'd, The snow-drop, April's meekest child, With myrtle blossoms undefil'd, Thy mild and spotless mind pourtray'd; Dear blushing maid, of cottage birth, 'Twas thine, o'er dewy meads to stray, While sparkling health, and frolic mirth Led on thy laughing Day.
Lur'd by the babbling tongue of FAME, Too soon, insidious FLATT'RY came; Flush'd VANITY her footsteps led, To charm thee from thy blest repose, While Fashion twin'd about thy head A wreath of wounding woes; See Dissipation smoothly glide, Cold Apathy, and puny Pride, Capricious Fortune, dull, and blind, O'er splendid Folly throws her veil, While Envy's meagre tribe assail Thy gentle form, and spotless mind.
Their spells prevail! no more those eyes Shoot undulating fires; On thy wan cheek, the young rose dies, Thy lip's deep tint expires; Dark Melancholy chills thy mind; Thy silent tear reveals thy woe; TIME strews with thorns thy mazy way, Where'er thy giddy footsteps stray, Thy thoughtless heart is doom'd to find An unrelenting foe.
'Tis thus, the infant Forest flow'r Bespangled o'er with glitt'ring dew, At breezy morn's refreshing hour, Glows with pure tints of varying hue, Beneath an aged oak's wide spreading shade, Where no rude winds, or beating storms invade.
Transplanted from its lonely bed, No more it scatters perfumes round, No more it rears its gentle head, Or brightly paints the mossy ground; For ah! the beauteous bud, too soon, Scorch'd by the burning eye of day; Shrinks from the sultry glare of noon, Droops its enamell'd brow, and blushing, dies away.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Days

DAUGHTERS of Time the hypocritic Days  
Muffled and dumb like barefoot dervishes  
And marching single in an endless file  
Bring diadems and fagots in their hands.
To each they offer gifts after his will 5 Bread kingdoms stars and sky that holds them all.
I in my pleach¨¨d garden watched the pomp Forgot my morning wishes hastily Took a few herbs and apples and the Day Turned and departed silent.
I too late 10 Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Blight

Give me truths;
For I am weary of the surfaces,
And die of inanition.
If I knew Only the herbs and simples of the wood, Rue, cinquefoil, gill, vervain and agrimony, Blue-vetch and trillium, hawkweed, sassafras, Milkweeds and murky brakes, quaint pipes and sun-dew, And rare and virtuous roots, which in these woods Draw untold juices from the common earth, Untold, unknown, and I could surely spell Their fragrance, and their chemistry apply By sweet affinities to human flesh, Driving the foe and stablishing the friend,-- O, that were much, and I could be a part Of the round day, related to the sun And planted world, and full executor Of their imperfect functions.
But these young scholars, who invade our hills, Bold as the engineer who fells the wood, And traveling often in the cut he makes, Love not the flower they pluck, and know it not, And all their botany is Latin names.
The old men studied magic in the flowers, And human fortunes in astronomy, And an omnipotence in chemistry, Preferring things to names, for these were men, Were unitarians of the united world, And, wheresoever their clear eye-beams fell, They caught the footsteps of the SAME.
Our eyes And strangers to the mystic beast and bird, And strangers to the plant and to the mine.
The injured elements say, 'Not in us;' And haughtily return us stare for stare.
For we invade them impiously for gain; We devastate them unreligiously, And coldly ask their pottage, not their love.
Therefore they shove us from them, yield to us Only what to our griping toil is due; But the sweet affluence of love and song, The rich results of the divine consents Of man and earth, of world beloved and lover, The nectar and ambrosia, are withheld; And in the midst of spoils and slaves, we thieves And pirates of the universe, shut out Daily to a more thin and outward rind, Turn pale and starve.
Therefore, to our sick eyes, The stunted trees look sick, the summer short, Clouds shade the sun, which will not tan our hay, And nothing thrives to reach its natural term; And life, shorn of its venerable length, Even at its greatest space is a defeat, And dies in anger that it was a dupe; And, in its highest noon and wantonness, Is early frugal, like a beggar's child; Even in the hot pursuit of the best aims And prizes of ambition, checks its hand, Like Alpine cataracts frozen as they leaped, Chilled with a miserly comparison Of the toy's purchase with the length of life.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

The Problem

I LIKE a church; I like a cowl; 
I love a prophet of the soul; 
And on my heart monastic aisles 
Fall like sweet strains or pensive smiles; 
Yet not for all his faith can see 5 
Would I that cowl¨¨d churchman be.
Why should the vest on him allure Which I could not on me endure? Not from a vain or shallow thought His awful Jove young Phidias brought; 10 Never from lips of cunning fell The thrilling Delphic oracle: Out from the heart of nature rolled The burdens of the Bible old; The litanies of nations came 15 Like the volcano's tongue of flame Up from the burning core below ¡ª The canticles of love and woe; The hand that rounded Peter's dome And groined the aisles of Christian Rome 20 Wrought in a sad sincerity; Himself from God he could not free; He builded better than he knew;¡ª The conscious stone to beauty grew.
Know'st thou what wove yon woodbird's nest 25 Of leaves and feathers from her breast? Or how the fish outbuilt her shell Painting with morn each annual cell? Or how the sacred pine tree adds To her old leaves new myriads? 30 Such and so grew these holy piles Whilst love and terror laid the tiles.
Earth proudly wears the Parthenon As the best gem upon her zone; And Morning opes with haste her lids 35 To gaze upon the Pyramids; O'er England's abbeys bends the sky As on its friends with kindred eye; For out of Thought's interior sphere These wonders rose to upper air; 40 And Nature gladly gave them place Adopted them into her race And granted them an equal date With Andes and with Ararat.
These temples grew as grows the grass; 45 Art might obey but not surpass.
The passive Master lent his hand To the vast soul that o'er him planned; And the same power that reared the shrine Bestrode the tribes that knelt within.
50 Ever the fiery Pentecost Girds with one flame the countless host Trances the heart through chanting choirs And through the priest the mind inspires.
The word unto the prophet spoken 55 Was writ on tables yet unbroken; The word by seers or sibyls told In groves of oak or fanes of gold Still floats upon the morning wind Still whispers to the willing mind.
60 One accent of the Holy Ghost The heedless world hath never lost.
I know what say the fathers wise ¡ª The Book itself before me lies ¡ª Old Chrysostom best Augustine 65 And he who blent both in his line The younger Golden Lips or mines Taylor the Shakespeare of divines.
His words are music in my ear I see his cowl¨¨d portrait dear; 70 And yet for all his faith could see I would not this good bishop be.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Concord Hymn

By the rude bridge that arched the flood, 
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, 
Here once the embattled farmers stood, 
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream, We set to-day a votive stone; That memory may their deed redeem, When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare To die, and leave their children free, Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

The Humble-Bee

BURLY dozing humble-bee  
Where thou art is clime for me.
Let them sail for Porto Rique Far-off heats through seas to seek; I will follow thee alone 5 Thou animated torrid-zone! Zigzag steerer desert cheerer Let me chase thy waving lines; Keep me nearer me thy hearer Singing over shrubs and vines.
10 Insect lover of the sun Joy of thy dominion! Sailor of the atmosphere; Swimmer through the waves of air; Voyager of light and noon; 15 Epicurean of June; Wait I prithee till I come Within earshot of thy hum ¡ª All without is martyrdom.
When the south wind in May days 20 With a net of shining haze Silvers the horizon wall And with softness touching all Tints the human countenance With a color of romance 25 And infusing subtle heats Turns the sod to violets Thou in sunny solitudes Rover of the underwoods The green silence dost displace 30 With thy mellow breezy bass.
Hot midsummer's petted crone Sweet to me thy drowsy tone Tells of countless sunny hours Long days and solid banks of flowers; 35 Of gulfs of sweetness without bound In Indian wildernesses found; Of Syrian peace immortal leisure Firmest cheer and bird-like pleasure.
Aught unsavory or unclean 40 Hath my insect never seen; But violets and bilberry bells Maple-sap and daffodels Grass with green flag half-mast high Succory to match the sky 45 Columbine with horn of honey Scented fern and agrimony Clover catchfly adder's-tongue And brier-roses dwelt among; All beside was unknown waste 50 All was picture as he passed.
Wiser far than human seer blue-breeched philosopher! Seeing only what is fair Sipping only what is sweet 55 Thou dost mock at fate and care Leave the chaff and take the wheat.
When the fierce northwestern blast Cools sea and land so far and fast Thou already slumberest deep; 60 Woe and want thou canst outsleep; Want and woe which torture us Thy sleep makes ridiculous.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

The Apology

 Think me not unkind and rude,
That I walk alone in grove and glen;
I go to the god of the wood
To fetch his word to men.
Tax not my sloth that I Fold my arms beside the brook; Each cloud that floated in the sky Writes a letter in my book.
Chide me not, laborious band, For the idle flowers I brought; Every aster in my hand Goes home loaded with a thought.
There was never mystery, But 'tis figured in the flowers, Was never secret history, But birds tell it in the bowers.
One harvest from thy field Homeward brought the oxen strong; A second crop thine acres yield, Which I gather in a song.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Celestial Love

 Higher far,
Upward, into the pure realm,
Over sun or star,
Over the flickering Dæmon film,
Thou must mount for love,—
Into vision which all form
In one only form dissolves;
In a region where the wheel,
On which all beings ride,
Visibly revolves;
Where the starred eternal worm
Girds the world with bound and term;
Where unlike things are like,
When good and ill,
And joy and moan,
Melt into one.
There Past, Present, Future, shoot Triple blossoms from one root Substances at base divided In their summits are united, There the holy Essence rolls, One through separated souls, And the sunny &Aelig;on sleeps Folding nature in its deeps, And every fair and every good Known in part or known impure To men below, In their archetypes endure.
The race of gods, Or those we erring own, 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 Out of that sphere Thee to guide and to redeem.
O what a load Of care and toil By lying Use bestowed, From his shoulders falls, who sees The true astronomy, The period of peace! Counsel which the ages kept, Shall the well-born soul accept.
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, 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, Nor less the eternal poles Of tendency distribute souls.
There need no vows to bind Whom not each other seek but find.
They give and take no pledge or oath, Nature is the bond of both.
No prayer persuades, no flattery fawns, Their noble meanings are their pawns.
Plain and cold is their address, Power have they for tenderness, And so thoroughly is known Each others' purpose by his own, They can parley without meeting, Need is none of forms of greeting, They can well communicate 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, 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, 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; Is none so high, so mean is none, But feels and seals this union.
Even the tell Furies are appeased, The good applaud, the lost are eased.
Love's hearts are faithful, but not fond, Bound for the just, but not beyond; Not glad, as the low-loving herd, Of self in others still preferred, But they have heartily designed The benefit of broad mankind.
And they serve men austerely, After their own genius, clearly, Without a false humility; For this is love's nobility, Not to scatter bread and gold, 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: For he that feeds men, serveth few, He serves all, who dares be true.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Initial Love

 Venus, when her son was lost,
Cried him up and down the coast,
In hamlets, palaces, and parks,
And told the truant by his marks,
Golden curls, and quiver, and bow;—
This befell long ago.
Time and tide are strangely changed, Men and manners much deranged; None will now find Cupid latent By this foolish antique patent.
He came late along the waste, Shod like a traveller for haste, With malice dared me to proclaim him, That the maids and boys might name him.
Boy no more, he wears all coats, Frocks, and blouses, capes, capôtes, He bears no bow, or quiver, or wand, Nor chaplet on his head or hand: Leave his weeds and heed his eyes, All the rest he can disguise.
In the pit of his eyes a spark Would bring back day if it were dark, And,—if I tell you all my thought, Though I comprehend it not,— In those unfathomable orbs Every function he absorbs; He doth eat, and drink, and fish, and shoot, And write, and reason, and compute, And ride, and run, and have, and hold, And whine, and flatter, and regret, And kiss, and couple, and beget, By those roving eye-balls bold; Undaunted are their courages, Right Cossacks in their forages; Fleeter they than any creature, They are his steeds and not his feature, Inquisitive, and fierce, and fasting, Restless, predatory, hasting,— And they pounce on other eyes, As lions on their prey; And round their circles is writ, Plainer than the day, Underneath, within, above, Love, love, love, love.
He lives in his eyes, There doth digest, and work, and spin, And buy, and sell, and lose, and win; He rolls them with delighted motion, Joy-tides swell their mimic ocean.
Yet holds he them with tortest rein, That they may seize and entertain The glance that to their glance opposes, Like fiery honey sucked from roses.
He palmistry can understand, Imbibing virtue by his hand As if it were a living root; The pulse of hands will make him mute; With all his force he gathers balms Into those wise thrilling palms.
Cupid is a casuist, A mystic, and a cabalist, Can your lurking Thought surprise, And interpret your device; Mainly versed in occult science, In magic, and in clairvoyance.
Oft he keeps his fine ear strained, And reason on her tiptoe pained, For aery intelligence, And for strange coincidence.
But it touches his quick heart When Fate by omens takes his part, And chance-dropt hints from Nature's sphere Deeply soothe his anxious ear.
Heralds high before him run, He has ushers many a one, Spreads his welcome where he goes, And touches all things with his rose.
All things wait for and divine him,— How shall I dare to malign him, Or accuse the god of sport?— I must end my true report, Painting him from head to foot, In as far as I took note, Trusting well the matchless power Of this young-eyed emperor Will clear his fame from every cloud, With the bards, and with the crowd.
He is wilful, mutable, Shy, untamed, inscrutable, Swifter-fashioned than the fairies, Substance mixed of pure contraries, His vice some elder virtue's token, And his good is evil spoken.
Failing sometimes of his own, He is headstrong and alone; He affects the wood and wild, Like a flower-hunting child, Buries himself in summer waves, In trees, with beasts, in mines, and caves, Loves nature like a horned cow, Bird, or deer, or cariboo.
Shun him, nymphs, on the fleet horses! He has a total world of wit, O how wise are his discourses! But he is the arch-hypocrite, And through all science and all art, Seeks alone his counterpart.
He is a Pundit of the east, He is an augur and a priest, And his soul will melt in prayer, But word and wisdom are a snare; Corrupted by the present toy, He follows joy, and only joy.
There is no mask but he will wear, He invented oaths to swear, He paints, he carves, he chants, he prays, And holds all stars in his embrace, Godlike, —but 'tis for his fine pelf, The social quintessence of self.
Well, said I, he is hypocrite, And folly the end of his subtle wit, He takes a sovran privilege Not allowed to any liege, For he does go behind all law, And right into himself does draw, For he is sovranly allied.
Heaven's oldest blood flows in his side, And interchangeably at one With every king on every throne, That no God dare say him nay, Or see the fault, or seen betray; He has the Muses by the heart, And the Parcæ all are of his part.
His many signs cannot be told, He has not one mode, but manifold, Many fashions and addresses, Piques, reproaches, hurts, caresses, Action, service, badinage, He will preach like a friar, And jump like Harlequin, He will read like a crier, And fight like a Paladin.
Boundless is his memory, Plans immense his term prolong, He is not of counted age, Meaning always to be young.
And his wish is intimacy, Intimater intimacy, And a stricter privacy, The impossible shall yet be done, And being two shall still be one.
As the wave breaks to foam on shelves, Then runs into a wave again, So lovers melt their sundered selves, Yet melted would be twain.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Ode To Beauty

 Who gave thee, O Beauty!
The keys of this breast,
Too credulous lover
Of blest and unblest?
Say when in lapsed ages
Thee knew I of old;
Or what was the service
For which I was sold?
When first my eyes saw thee,
I found me thy thrall,
By magical drawings,
Sweet tyrant of all!
I drank at thy fountain
False waters of thirst;
Thou intimate stranger,
Thou latest and first!
Thy dangerous glances
Make women of men;
New-born we are melting
Into nature again.
Lavish, lavish promiser, Nigh persuading gods to err, Guest of million painted forms Which in turn thy glory warms, The frailest leaf, the mossy bark, The acorn's cup, the raindrop's arc, The swinging spider's silver line, The ruby of the drop of wine, The shining pebble of the pond, Thou inscribest with a bond In thy momentary play Would bankrupt Nature to repay.
Ah! what avails it To hide or to shun Whom the Infinite One Hath granted his throne? The heaven high over Is the deep's lover, The sun and sea Informed by thee, Before me run, And draw me on, Yet fly me still, As Fate refuses To me the heart Fate for me chooses, Is it that my opulent soul Was mingled from the generous whole, Sea valleys and the deep of skies Furnished several supplies, And the sands whereof I'm made Draw me to them self-betrayed? I turn the proud portfolios Which hold the grand designs Of Salvator, of Guercino, And Piranesi's lines.
I hear the lofty Pæans Of the masters of the shell, Who heard the starry music, And recount the numbers well: Olympian bards who sung Divine Ideas below, Which always find us young, And always keep us so.
Oft in streets or humblest places I detect far wandered graces, Which from Eden wide astray In lowly homes have lost their way.
Thee gliding through the sea of form, Like the lightning through the storm, Somewhat not to be possessed, Somewhat not to be caressed, No feet so fleet could ever find, No perfect form could ever bind.
Thou eternal fugitive Hovering over all that live, Quick and skilful to inspire Sweet extravagant desire, Starry space and lily bell Filling with thy roseate smell, Wilt not give the lips to taste Of the nectar which thou hast.
All that's good and great with thee Stands in deep conspiracy.
Thou hast bribed the dark and lonely To report thy features only, And the cold and purple morning Itself with thoughts of thee adorning, The leafy dell, the city mart, Equal trophies of thine art, E'en the flowing azure air Thou hast touched for my despair, And if I languish into dreams, Again I meet the ardent beams.
Queen of things! I dare not die In Being's deeps past ear and eye, Lest there I find the same deceiver, And be the sport of Fate forever.
Dread power, but dear! if God thou be, Unmake me quite, or give thyself to me.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

FATE

 Fate is above me.
Why should I browse? Sleeping in dosses, an outcast, I rove.
Grief is a cellar, that opens in every old house.
A ditch is below me and fate is above.
What did I want? Well, a life of contentment.
What did I get? Just a coffin and wreath.
.
.
Under the cradle a grave has been latent.
Fate is above me, a ditch is beneath.
Up in the sky my soul, like a hound, howls, despaired, the trigger to pull it was keen.
Fate has come over my family background, and on the earth where fate is my kin.
What have I done, apart from the simple poems I've written in passing to date? I've been a lightening conductor for people.
Now I have broken my back.
Such is fate.
© Copyright Alec Vagapov's translation

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Dæmonic Love

 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.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Poet

TO clothe the fiery thought 
In simple words succeeds  
For still the craft of genius is 
To mask a king in weeds.