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Best Famous Ralph Waldo Emerson Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Ralph Waldo Emerson poems. This is a select list of the best famous Ralph Waldo Emerson poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Ralph Waldo Emerson poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of 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 |


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 |


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.

More great poems below...

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 |


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 |

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 |

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 |


BRING me wine but wine which never grew 
In the belly of the grape  
Or grew on vine whose tap-roots reaching through 
Under the Andes to the Cape  
Suffer'd no savour of the earth to 'scape.
5 Let its grapes the morn salute From a nocturnal root Which feels the acrid juice Of Styx and Erebus; And turns the woe of Night 10 By its own craft to a more rich delight.
We buy ashes for bread; We buy diluted wine; Give me of the true Whose ample leaves and tendrils curl'd 15 Among the silver hills of heaven Draw everlasting dew; Wine of wine Blood of the world Form of forms and mould of statures 20 That I intoxicated And by the draught assimilated May float at pleasure through all natures; The bird-language rightly spell And that which roses say so well: 25 Wine that is shed Like the torrents of the sun Up the horizon walls Or like the Atlantic streams which run When the South Sea calls.
30 Water and bread Food which needs no transmuting Rainbow-flowering wisdom-fruiting Wine which is already man Food which teach and reason can.
35 Wine which Music is ¡ª Music and wine are one ¡ª That I drinking this Shall hear far Chaos talk with me; Kings unborn shall walk with me; 40 And the poor grass shall plot and plan What it will do when it is man.
Quicken'd so will I unlock Every crypt of every rock.
I thank the joyful juice 45 For all I know; Winds of remembering Of the ancient being blow And seeming-solid walls of use Open and flow.
50 Pour Bacchus! the remembering wine; Retrieve the loss of me and mine! Vine for vine be antidote And the grape requite the lote! Haste to cure the old despair; 55 Reason in Nature's lotus drench'd¡ª The memory of ages quench'd¡ª Give them again to shine; Let wine repair what this undid; And where the infection slid 60 A dazzling memory revive; Refresh the faded tints Recut the ag¨¨d prints And write my old adventures with the pen Which on the first day drew 65 Upon the tablets blue The dancing Pleiads and eternal men.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |


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

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

Account of a Visit From ST. Nicholas

 "Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St.
Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar plums danc'd in their heads, And mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap-- When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The boon on the breast of the new fallen snow, Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below; When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I new in a moment it must be St.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name: "Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen, "On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem; "To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! "Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of Toys--and St.
Nicholas too: And then in a twinkling, I heard on the root The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St.
Nicholas came with a bound: He was dress'd in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnish'd with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys was flung on his back, And he look'd like a peddler just opening his pack: His eyes--how they twinkled! his dimples how merry, His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry; His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow.
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly That shook when he laugh'd, like a bowl full of jelly: He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laugh'd when I saw him in spite of myself; A wink of his eye hand a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And fill'd all the stockings; and turn'd with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He spring to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle: But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of site-- Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |

To Eva

O FAIR and stately maid whose eyes 
Were kindled in the upper skies 
At the same torch that lighted mine; 
For so I must interpret still 
Thy sweet dominion o'er my will 5 
A sympathy divine.
Ah! let me blameless gaze upon Features that seem at heart my own; Nor fear those watchful sentinels Who charm the more their glance forbids 10 Chaste-glowing underneath their lids With fire that draws while it repels.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |


IT fell in the ancient periods 
Which the brooding soul surveys  
Or ever the wild Time coin'd itself 
Into calendar months and days.
This was the lapse of Uriel 5 Which in Paradise befell.
Once among the Pleiads walking Sayd overheard the young gods talking; And the treason too long pent To his ears was evident.
10 The young deities discuss'd Laws of form and metre just Orb quintessence and sunbeams What subsisteth and what seems.
One with low tones that decide 15 And doubt and reverend use defied With a look that solved the sphere And stirr'd the devils everywhere Gave his sentiment divine Against the being of a line.
20 'Line in nature is not found; Unit and universe are round; In vain produced all rays return; Evil will bless and ice will burn.
' As Uriel spoke with piercing eye 25 A shudder ran around the sky; The stern old war-gods shook their heads; The seraphs frown'd from myrtle-beds; Seem'd to the holy festival The rash word boded ill to all; 30 The balance-beam of Fate was bent; The bounds of good and ill were rent; Strong Hades could not keep his own But all slid to confusion.
A sad self-knowledge withering fell 35 On the beauty of Uriel; In heaven once eminent the god Withdrew that hour into his cloud; Whether doom'd to long gyration In the sea of generation 40 Or by knowledge grown too bright To hit the nerve of feebler sight.
Straightway a forgetting wind Stole over the celestial kind And their lips the secret kept 45 If in ashes the fire-seed slept.
But now and then truth-speaking things Shamed the angels' veiling wings; And shrilling from the solar course Or from fruit of chemic force 50 Procession of a soul in matter Or the speeding change of water Or out of the good of evil born Came Uriel's voice of cherub scorn And a blush tinged the upper sky 55 And the gods shook they knew not why.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |


From the French

SOME of the hurts you have cured  
And the sharpest you still have survived  
But what torments of grief you endured 
From evils which never arrived!