« AnteriorContinuar »
“ No spring nor summer's beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.” Emerson's face was the highest and the loveliest and the most “through-shine," because his life was all this. “Is it so bad?” he wrote to a friend who had said that “no one would dare to uncover the thoughts of a single hour," — “Is it so bad? I own that to a witness worse than myself and less intelligent I should not willingly put a window into my breast. But to a witness more intelligent and virtuous than I, or to one precisely as intelligent and well intentioned, I have no objection to uncover my heart.” “He was right,” says Mr. Cabot, “he could only have gained by it.” “It was good,” says Hawthorne in a passage that Mr. Cabot quotes, “to meet him in the woodpaths or sometimes in our avenue with that pure intellectual gleam diffusing about his presence like the garment of a shining one; and he, so quiet, so simple, so without pretension, encountering each
man alive as if expecting to receive more than he would impart. It was impossible to dwell in his vicinity without inhaling more or less the mountain atmosphere of his lofty thought.”
Emerson himself has told us that “Rectitude scatters favors on every side without knowing it, and receives with wonder the thanks of all people.” So it was with him; as it is written of one whom no man was more like, “There went virtue out of him and healed them all.” He who knew sorrow yet was glad, who knew self-distrust yet stood self-reliant, who knew weakness yet remained strong, who knew bitterness yet kept sweet, whose love of man and of nature and of nature in man, shone through his face, and through every page he wrote,
- he seemed to those near him the very prophet of God, preaching hope, freedom, courage, the glory of a high and simple life. “The sublime vision," he says, “comes to the pure and simple soul in a clean and chaste body.” “If we live truly, we shall see truly. It is as easy for the strong man to be strong as it is for the weak to be weak.”
“Teach me your mood, O patient stars !
No trace of age, no fear to die.” In his presence weak men were ashamed that they had ever wondered whether it was worth while to live ; for in his presence, even in the presence of what he had written, it was harder to be a coward than to be brave.
Of young people — not children, but young men and women — he was the supreme helper; and we must remember that it was not only neighbors and friends who loved him, not only those that touched the hem of his garment who were made whole. His voice, his manner, his presence, charmed and refined all who came near him; but his written words put courage into ten thousand hearts.
“Trust thyself; every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
“We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our own minds."
“If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts and there abide, the huge world will come round to him.”
“We are parlor soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate where strength is born."
“But we sit and weep in vain. The voice of the Almighty saith, “Up and onward forever more!'"
“Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say, 'I think,' 'I am,' but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are. for what they are; they exist with God to-day.”
“I call upon you, young men, to obey your heart and be the nobility of this land.”
Here is the star to which many an awkward and timid country lad has hitched his wagon; the strong and steady light to which the lights that flickered in a thousand hearts have flashed their bravest answer. This gentle scholar was a man, and a man who inspired others with his own manliness. There was in his philosophy no room for the weak and lazy. With all his visions he had a keen sense of the value of time, and expressed it (with more truth than poetry) in “The Visit:" —
“Askest, 'How long thou shalt stay?
Devastator of the day!” “Do your work,” he says, “and I shall know you. Do your work and you shall reinforce yourself. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.”
“The distinction and end of a soundly