Emerson at Home and Abroad

By Moncure Daniel Conway | Go to book overview
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A VIGIL.

IT is the vigil of Emerson. To-morrow ( May 25, 1882) he will be seventy-nine years of age. I cannot bear to write "he would be." This day, gazing on a picture of Emerson's funeral, picking out from beneath their grey hairs faces of some with whom I have sat at his feet, there comes home to me the secret of that longing out of which were born myths of men that never died, of Yami and Arthur, of Enoch and Saint John, The love of a Madonna is in his own interpretation. "The fable of the Wandering Jew is agreeable to men, because they want more time and land in which to execute their thoughts. But a higher poetic use must be made of the legend. Take us as we are with our experience, and transfer us to a new planet, and let us digest for its inhabitants what we could of the wisdom of this. After we have found our depth there, and assimilated what we could of the wisdom of the new experience, transfer us to a new scene. In each transfer we shall have acquired, by seeing them at a distance, a new mastery of the old thoughts, in which we were too much immersed. In short, all our intellectual action not promises, but bestows a feeling of absolute existence. We are taken out of time and breathe a purer air."

Such duration did Emerson devise; but one source

-1-

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