Saturday, July 25, 2015

Necessary Dualisms

Already blushes in thy cheek
The bosom-thought which thou must speak;
The bird, how far it haply roam
By cloud or isle, is flying home;
The maiden fears, and fearing runs
Into the charmed snare she shuns;
And every man, in love or pride,
Of his fate is never wide.

Will a woman's fan the ocean smooth?
Or prayers the stony Parcae sooth,
Or coax the thunder from its mark?
Or tapers light the chaos dark?
In spite of Virtue and the Muse,
Nemesis will have her dues,
And all our struggles and our toils
Tighter wind the giant coils.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

2 comments:

FreeThinke said...

Good Heavens, what gloom!

Emerson is not generally known to be such a fatalist and a pessimist.

This must be a work from his youth, yes?

-FJ said...

Perhaps, but unlikely...

In 1867, Mr. Emerson gathered into a new volume the poems of the twenty-one years since the publication of the first, and gave it the name May-Day from the happy lyric in honor of Spring with which it opens. His ear had improved, and, though the original vigor remained in the poems, many of them had been kept long by him and had ripened fully. "May-Day," the poem, was probably written in snatches in the woods on his afternoon walks, through many years. Some lines are in journals of 1845. After its publication he saw that the ordering of the different passages to give the advance of Spring was not quite successful, and in the Selected Poems, published nine years later, he improved, but did not quite perfect, the arrangement, for at that time he found mental effort of that sort confusing.