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son and Carlyle, a blessing to both, and lasting through life.
“That man,” wrote Carlyle to a friend, “came to see me. I don't know what brought him, and we kept him one night, and then he left us. I saw him go up the hill. I did n't go with him to see him descend. I preferred to watch him mount and vanish like an angel !”
On September 1, 1833, Emerson, in his journal at Liverpool, thanks God “that He has brought me to the shore and the ship that steers westward. He has shown me the men I wished to see, Landor, Coleridge, Carlyle, Wordsworth: He has thereby comforted and confirmed me in my convictions. . . . I am very glad my travelling is done.” His health was restored, and he was eager to begin life anew. For the thought which he expressed in “ The Over-Soul” was then burning within him, — “When we have broken our god of tradition and ceased from our god of rhetoric, then may God fire the soul.” In his journal at sea he wrote, “That which I cannot yet declare has been my angel from childhood until now. It has separated me from men. It has watered my pillow.... It has inspired me with hope. It cannot be defeated by my defeats. ... It is the 'open secret' of the Universe. ... I believe in this life. I believe it continues. As long as I am here, I plainly read my duties as writ with pencil of fire. They speak not of death; they are woven of immortal thread.”
Thus he landed at Boston within the year in good health and hope, and joined his mother and youngest brother Charles in Newton. Frequent invitations to preach still came, and were accepted, and he even was sounded as to succeeding Dr. Dewey in the church at New Bedford; but, as he stipulated for freedom from ceremonial, this came to nothing. In his visits to New Bedford the Friends, with their doctrine of Obedience, interested him.
In the autumn of 1834 he moved to Concord, living with his kinsman, Dr. Ripley, at the Manse, but soon bought house and land on the Boston Road, on the edge of the village towards Walden woods. Thither, in the following autumn, he brought his wife, Miss Lidian Jackson, of Plymouth, and this was their home during the rest of their lives.
The new life to which he had been called opened pleasantly and increased in happiness and opportunity, except for the sadness of bereavements, for, in the first few years, his brilliant brothers Edward and Charles died, and soon afterward Waldo, his first-born son, and later his mother. Emerson had left traditional religion, the city, the Old World, behind, and now went to Nature as his teacher, his inspiration. His first book, Nature, which he was meditating while in Europe, was finished here, and published in 1836. When, as a boy, he went with William to the Maine woods, he wrote to his Aunt Mary that he found enjoyment there, but not inspiration. “You should have gone alone,” the sibyl answered. And now he went to the woods near his door to find her word true. As God liveth, he said,
The word unto the prophet spoken
Still whispers to the willing mind. From this time on, to the last days of his life, except when on his lecturing trips, he went almost daily to the woods to listen for the thoughts, not originated by him, he held, though colored by the temperament of the individual through which these inspirations of the Universal Mind passed.
Oh what are heroes, prophets, men
The singing of the pine-tree, or the Æolian harp, passive to be played on by the wild wind, his favorite music,' symbolized his belief. One song of the pine-tree to him was of
The genesis of things,
And in 1836, in Nature, he told how
Striving to be man, the worm
The early recognition by Emerson of Evolution as the plan of the Universe in his first book, and everywhere in his prose and verse, has often attracted notice, first, I think, of Mr. Moncure D. Conway in his Emerson at Home and Abroad.
A question so interesting should be consid· ered here — necessarily briefly. A study of Mr.
Emerson's history and reading suggests these steps as those by which his beliefs were reached.
1. His open mind and hopeful temperament.
2. His poetic nature looked on beneficent law as universal, working alike on matter or
See his two poems - The Harp,” and “ Maiden Speech of the Æolian Harp.”
spirit; hence analogies could be read either way from one to the other.
3. The facts of Astronomy and the Nebularhypothesis early delighted him.
4. The poetic teachings of the ancient philosophers, especially “ The Flowing of the Universe” by Heracleitus and the “Identity" by Xenophanes and others, prepared his mind.
5. He had undoubtedly early read of Leibnitz's scale of being from minerals through plants to animals, from monad to man, and from Coleridge knew something of the speculations of Schelling and Oken.
He also, in 1830, read with interest Lee's Life of Cuvier, and probably in Buffon.
6. He recorded in his Journal and in his lecture before the Natural History Society, just after his return from Europe in 1833, the strange feelings of relationship that had been stirred in him by the sight of the animal forms graded from lowest to highest in the Jardin des Plantes Museum in Paris “and the upheaving principle of life everywhere incipient, in the very rock aping organized forms. ... I am impressed with the singular conviction that not a form so grotesque, so savage, or so beautiful but is an expression of something in man, the