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THE Pui BETA KAPPA SOCIETY, AT CAMBRIDGE,
AUGUST 31, 1837
COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, JULY 16, 1838
SOCIETIES IN DARTMOUTI COLLEGE, JULY 24, 1838.
SOCIETY OF THE ADELPUI, IN WATERVILLE COL-
LEGE, MAINE, AUqust 11, 1841
THE MECHANICS' APPRENTICES' LIBRARY AssocIA•
Tion, Boston, JANUARY 25, 1841
READ IN THE MASONIO TEMPLE, Boston, DECEM.
BER 2, 1841 .
MASONIO TEMPLE, Boston, DECEMBER 9, 1841
IN THE MASONIO TEMPLE, BOSTON, JANUARY, 1842 .
THE MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION IN Boston,
A GREAT interpreter of life ought not himself to need interpretation, least of all can ho neod it for contemporaries. When time has wrought changes of fashion, mental and social, the critic sorvos a usoful turn in giving to a poot or a teacher his true place, and in recovering ideas and points of view that are worth preserving. Interpretation of this kind Emorson cannot require. His books are no palimpsest, 'the prophet's holograph, defiled, erased, and covered by a monk's.' What he has written is fresh, legible, and in full conformity with the manners and the diction of the day, and those who are unable to understand him without gloss and comment are in fact not prepared to understand what it is that the original has to say. Scarcely any literature is so entirely unprofitable as the so-called criticism that overlays a pithy text with a windy sermon. For our time at least Emerson may best be left to be his own expositor.
Nor is Emerson, either, in the case of those whom the world has failed to recognise, and whom therefore it is the business of the critic to make known and to define. It is too soon to say in what particular niche