Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson

By Richard Garnett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII.

THE vein of originality which the man of genius brings into the world must in process of time be exhausted. Well for him if external circumstances or inward resources help him to a new lease of inspiration. In trying to evolve new ideas from his mere brain, Carlyle but exaggerated the old; historical themes restored to him the freshness of his youth. Emerson confesses the infrequency of original thoughts after his return from Europe; but as invention waned, his intellectual activity found a new stimulus in a quickened interest in public affairs. Banks and tariffs had given place to questions involving the most momentous problems of law and morality. Emerson was cradled into politics by wrong, as other men into poetry. The Fugitive Slave Law was to him for a decade what for one brief fiery moment the oppression of the Indians had been in 1838. His general attitude towards politics, ere political issues had become absolutely vital and all-absorbing, is thus defined by himself in the address prefixed to The Massachusetts Quarterly --

"Lovers of our country, but not always approving of
the public counsels, we should certainly be glad to give

-162-

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Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Note. 9
  • Life of Emerson 11
  • Chapter 1 11
  • Chapter II 36
  • Chapter III 57
  • Chapter IV 81
  • Chapter V 111
  • Chapter VI 137
  • Chapter VII 162
  • Chapter VIII 187
  • Index 201
  • Bibliography i
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