Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson

By Richard Garnett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V.

IT is a testimony at once of Heaven's kindness to Emerson, and of his own kindliness, that the only misfortunes of his life which he felt as cruel wounds, were the untimely deaths of those near and dear to him. He had lost the first choice of his heart and his two marvellous brothers; and now, at the beginning of 1842, he was to be more heavily afflicted still. If he was more exemplary in any one relation of life than another it was in the father's. The recollections of his surviving children depict the ideal of wisdom, thoughtfulness, and gentleness. It seemed as though the best of fathers had been rewarded by the best of sons. Whether the remarkable promise of his first-born would have been fulfilled, it is of course impossible to say; but much might reasonably be augured of a boy of five so affectionate as to be his father's constant companion, and so considerate as to spend hours in his study without one noisy outbreak. A domesticated sunbeam," says a friend of the house, with his father's voice, but softened, and beautiful dark blue eyes with long lashes." Emerson himself names no family likeness; like the lover in his own essay he "sees no resemblance except to summer

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