RALPH WALDO EMERSON

GOOD-BYE

Good-bye, proud world! I'm going home:
Thou art not my friend, and I'm not thine.
Long through thy weary crowds I roam;
A river-ark on the ocean brine,
Long I've been tossed like the driven foam;
But now, proud world! I'm going home.

Good-bye to Flattery's fawning face;
To Grandeur with his wise grimace;
To upstart Wealth's averted eye;
To supple Office, low and high; 10 To crowded halls, to court and street;
To frozen hearts and hasting feet;
To those who go, and those who come;
Good-bye, proud world! I'm going home.

I am going to my own hearth-stone,
Bosomed in yon green hills alone,—
A secret nook in a pleasant land,
Whose groves the frolic fairies planned;
Where arches green, the livelong day,
Echo the blackbird's roundelay, 20 And vulgar feet have never trod
A spot that is sacred to thought and God.

O, when I am safe in my sylvan home,
I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome;
And when I am stretched beneath the pines,
Where the evening star so holy shines,
I laugh at the lore and the pride of man,
At the sophist schools and the learned clan;
For what are they all, in their high conceit,
When man in the bush with God may meet? 30

1823 1839


THOUGHT

I am not poor, but I am proud,
Of one inalienable right,
Above the envy of the crowd,—
Thought's holy light.

Better it is than gems or gold,
And oh! it cannot die,
But thought will glow when the sun grows cold,
And mix with Deity.

1823


WEBSTER

Ill fits the abstemious Muse a crown to weave
For living brows; ill fits them to receive:
And yet, if virtue abrogate the law,
One portrait—fact or fancy—we may draw;
A form which Nature cast in the heroic mould
Of them who rescued liberty of old;
He, when the rising storm of party roared,
Brought his great forehead to the council
board,
There, while hot beads perplexed with fears
the state,
Calm as the morn the manly patriot sate; 10 Seemed, when at last his clarion accents, broke,
As if the conscience of the country, spoke.
Not on its base Monadnoc surer stood,
Than he to common sense and common good:
No mimic; from his breast his counsel drew,
Believed the eloquent was aye the true;
He bridged the gulf from th' alway good and
wise
To that within the vision of small eyes.
Self-centred; when he launched the genuine
word
It shook or captivated all who heard, 20 Ran from his mouth to mountains and the sea,
And burned in noble hearts proverb and
prophecy.

1834 1883


THE RHODORA:

on being asked, whence is the flower?

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the redbird come his plumes to
cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky, 10 Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for
seeing,

-191-

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Major American Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Philip Freneau 1
  • William Cullen Bryant 61
  • John Greenleaf Whittier 105
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson 191
  • Edgar Allan Poe 243
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 287
  • James Russell Lowell 435
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes 543
  • Emily Dickinson 603
  • Sidney Lanier 611
  • Walt Whitman 651
  • Vachel Lindsay 733
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson 755
  • Notes Chronological, Bibliographical, Critical 779
  • William Cullen Bryant 788
  • John Greenleaf Whittier 798
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson 817
  • Edgar Alian Poe 834
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 847
  • James Russell Lowell 860
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes 882
  • Emily Dickinson 893
  • Sidney Lanier 903
  • Walt Whitman 914
  • Vachel Lindsay 929
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson 938
  • General Principles of Poetics 948
  • General Index 951
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