Emerson and Others

Emerson and Others

Emerson and Others

Emerson and Others

Excerpt

Emerson was thirty-one when he settled in Concord. The sun had emerged from the clouds: he had come back from his year in England charged with life and vigor. How many memories were associated with this little town! Personal memories, family memories, national memories. The happiest hours of his childhood--hours of escape from the tasks of a Boston schoolboy--had been passed in these peaceful meadows, redolent of the lives of his forbears.

He married the following year, 1835, Lydia Jackson of Plymouth, and moved into the house on the Cambridge turnpike. It was an ample house indeed, square, plain, white, with a Doric portico--not a Plymouth mansion, no, nor a Concord cottage either, but the sage's golden mean. High ceilings, airy chambers, a garden by the brook for the bulbs and seeds from Plymouth, the tulips and the roses, an orchard and a barn; and a study at the front, on the groundfloor, facing northward, a sanctum for the sage. When the fresh wind blew, Emerson placed an Æolian harp in one of the Western windows; and listening to it, fitfully singing in the breeze, he heard the wild melodies of Wales and Provence ringing through him again. Its notes mingled, on spring and summer days, with the trilling of the birds; for outside, between the windows, stood a balsam fir-tree, and in its branches, when the sun was out, robins and cedar-birds, orioles and goldfinches, warblers and catbirds loved to foregather.

Here in Concord were the men that make republics, Greeks like his brother Charles, Romans like Samuel Hoar. And the old names of the old families, the Bloods, the Willards, the Barretts, were all about him, tenon'd and mortised to the farms his fathers had known six generations before. Everything in Concord sang to him. Gay was the sound of the whetting of the scythe, delicious the scent of strawberries on his hands, and the solid sunshine of the pumpkins. And the breath of the warm south wind that drew him to the top of the ridge along the . . .

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