Emerson Poet Essay

"The waves, unashamed, In difference sweet, Play glad with the breezes, Old playfellows meet; The journeying atoms, Primordial wholes, Firmly draw, firmly drive, By their animate poles."Sea, earth, air, sound, silence, Plant, quadruped, bird, By one music enchanted, One deity stirred,-- Each the other adorning, Accompany still; Night veileth the morning, The vapor the hill."The babe by its mother Lies bathed in joy; Glide its hours uncounted,-- The sun is its toy; Shines the peace of all being, Without cloud, in its eyes; And the sum of the world In soft miniature lies.

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"The fiend that man harries Is love of the Best; Yawns the pit of the Dragon, Lit by rays from the Blest.

The Lethe of nature Can't trace him again, Whose soul sees the perfect, Which his eyes seek in vain.

The Sphinx is drowsy, The wings are furled; Her ear is heavy, She broods on the world. -- I awaited the seer, While they slumbered and slept;-- "The fate of the man-child; The meaning of man; Known fruit of the unknown; Daedalian plan; Out of sleeping a waking, Out of waking a sleep; Life death overtaking; Deep underneath deep?

"Erect as a sunbeam, Upspringeth the palm; The elephant browses, Undaunted and calm; In beautiful motion The thrush plies his wings; Kind leaves of his covert, Your silence he sings.

The poet stands alone, above all of humanity, and thus “the birth of a poet is the principal event in chronology,” yet “every man is so far a poet as to be susceptible of these enchantments of nature.” These tensions or contradictions are central to Emerson’s philosophy.

The poet—and every individual—gives expression to an experience never before known, yet the deepest underlying truth of that experience exceeds any individual existence and reflects the laws at the core of the universe.

It was what he saw as the emptiness of such writing that led Emerson to dismiss Poe as “the jingle-man.” In opposition to Poe’s focus on poetic design, Emerson emphasizes intuition. by sharing the path or circuit of things through forms, and so making them translucid to others.” The poet, in this way, takes on the role of the prophet or the minister, bringing a message of the divinity of nature and of humankind to his listeners.

Repeatedly, in “The Poet,” Emerson suggests that the poet does little at all, except to allow “the ethereal tides to roll and circulate through him.” It is through “abandonment to the nature of things” that the poet frees himself from his narrow individual view of the world and his thinking begins to “take its direction from celestial life.” In this way, “Imagination” is less creative in itself than merely a “very high sort of seeing . As such, Emerson elevates the poet to a supreme position within society.

Even in our less conscious moments, our existence reflects that truth, the truth at the core of what Emerson calls poetry.

Emerson’s understanding of the “Universe” as “the externization of the soul” thus leads him to identifying the poet’s chief task as making that relationship real to us. to the use of emblems:” “The people fancy they hate poetry, and they are all poets and mystics” through their recognition of a spiritual truth and meaning behind material form.


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