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Partaker in the solemn year's events,
475 To share the work of busy-fingered hours,

To be night's silent almoner of dew,
To rise again in plants and breathe and grow,
To stream as tides the oeean cavern through,

Or with the rapture of great winds to blow 480 About earth's shaken coignes, were not a fate

To leave us all-disconsolate;
Even endless slumber in the sweetening sod

Of charitable earth

That takes out all our mortal stains, 485 And makes us clearlier neighbors of the clod

Methinks were better worth
Than the poor fruit of most men's wakeful pains,

The heart's insatiable ache:

But such was not his faith, 490 Nor mine: it may be he had trod Outside the plain old path of God thus spake,

But God to him was very God,

And not a visionary wraith Skulking in murky corners of the mind, 495

And he was sure to be
Somehow, somewhere, imperishable as He,
Not with His essence mystically combined,
As some high spirits long, but whole and free,

A perfected and conscious Agassiz.
Sou And such I figure him: the wise of old
Welcome and own him of their peaceful fold,

Not truly with the guild enrolled
Of him who seeking inward guessed

Diviner riddles than the rest, 505 And groping in the darks of thought Touched the Great Hand and knew it not;

503. Plato.

He rather shares the daily light,

From reason's charier fountains won, Of his great chief, the slow-paced Stagyrite, 510 And Cuvier clasps once more his long-lost son.


The shape erect is prone : forever stilled
The winning tongue ; the forehead's high-piled

A cairn which every science helped to build,

Unvalued will its golden secrets keep:
515 He knows at last if Life or Death be best :

Wherever he be flown, whatever vest
The being hath put on which lately here
So many-friended was, so full of cheer

To make men feel the Seeker's noble zest, 520 We have not lost him all; he is not gone

To the dumb herd of them that wholly die;
The beauty of his better self lives on
In minds he touched with fire, in many an eye

He trained to Truth's exact severity;
525 He was a Teacher: why be grieved for him

Whose living word still stimulates the air ?
In endless files shall loving scholars come
The glow of his transmitted touch to share,

And trace his features with an eye less dim 530 Than ours whose sense familiar wont makes numb.

FLORENCE, ITALY, February, 1874.

509. Aristotle, so-called from his birthplace of Stagira in Mo redonia.



To many

readers the name of Emerson is that of a philosophical prose writer, hard to be understood ; in time to come it will perhaps be wondered at that the introduction of his name in a volume of American Poems should seem to require an explanation or shadow of an apology; it is likely even that his philosophy will be read and welcomed chiefly for those elements which it has in common with his

His life may be called uneventful as regards external change or adventure. It was passed mainly in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts. Ile was born in Boston, May 25, 1803. His father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather, were all ministers, and, indeed, on both his father's and mother's side he belongs to a continuous line of ministerial descent from the seventeenth century. At the time of his birth, his father, the Rev. Wil. liam Emerson, was minister of the First Church congregation, but on his death a few years after. ward, Ralph Waldo Emerson, a boy of seven, wen. to live in the old manse at Concord, where his grand father had lived when the Concord fight occurred The old manse was afterward the home at one time of Hawthorne, who wrote there the stories which he gathered into the volumes, Mosses from an Old Manse.

Emerson was graduated at Harvard in 1821, and after teaching a year or two gave himself to the study of divinity. From 1827 to 1832 he preached in Unitarian churches and was for four years a colleague pastor in the Second Church in Boston. He then left the ministry and afterward devoted himself to literature. He travelled abroad in 1833, in 1847, and again in 1872, making friends among the leading thinkers during his first journey, and confirming the friendships when again in Europe ; with the exception of these three journeys and occasional leciuring tours in the United States, he lived quietly at Concord until his death, April 27, 1882.

He had delivered several special addresses, and in his early manhood was an important lecturer in the Lyceum courses which were so popular, especially in New England, forty years ago, but his first published book was Nature, in 1839. Subsequent prose writings were his Essays, under that title, and in several volumes with specific titles, Representative Men and English Traits, which last embodies the results of his first two visits to England.

He wrote poems when in college, but his first publication was through The Dial, a magazine established in 1840, and the representative of a knot of men and women of whom Emerson was the acknowledged or unacknowledged leailer. The first volume of his poems was published in 1847, and included those by which he is best known, as The Problem, The Sphinx, The Rhodora, The Humble Bee, Hymn Sung at the Completion of the Concord Monument. After the establishment of the Atlantic Monthly in 1857 he contributed to it both prose and poetry, and verses published in the early numbers, mere enigmas to some, profound revelations to others, were fruitful of discussion and thought ; his second volume of poems, May Day and other Pieces, was not issued until 1867. Since then a volume of his collected poetry has appeared, containing most of those published in the two volumes, and a few in addition. We are told, however, that the published writings of Emerson bear but small proportion to the unpublished. Many lectures have been delivered, but not printed; many poems written, and a few read, which have never been published. The inference from this, borne out by the marks upon what has been published, is that Mr. Emerson set a high value upon literature, and was jealous of the prerogative of the poet. He is frequently called a seer, and this old word, indicating etymologically its original intention, is applied well to a poet who saw into nature and human life with a spiritual power which made him a marked man in his own time, and one destined to an unrivalled place in literature. He fulfilled Wordsworth's lines, – –

* With an eye made quiet by the power Of harmony, and the deep power of joy, We see into the life of things."

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