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Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thee, dear friend, a brother soothes, Not with flatteries, but truths, Which tarnish not, but purify To light which dims the morning's eye. I have come from the spring-woods, From the fragrant solitudes;Ч Listen what the poplar-tree And murmuring waters counselled me. If with love thy heart has burned; If thy love is unreturned; Hide thy grief within thy breast, Though it tear thee unexpressed; For when love has once departed From the eyes of the false-hearted, And one by one has torn off quite The bandages of purple light; Though thou wert the loveliest Form the soul had ever dressed, Thou shalt seem, in each reply, A vixen to his altered eye; Thy softest pleadings seem too bold, Thy praying lute will seem to scold; Though thou kept the straightest road, Yet thou errest far and broad. But thou shalt do as do the gods In their cloudless periods; For of this lore be thou sure,Ч Though thou forget, the gods, secure, Forget never their command, But make the statute of this land. As they lead, so follow all, Ever have done, ever shall. Warning to the blind and deaf, 'T is written on the iron leaf, Who drinks of Cupid's nectar cup Loveth downward, and not up; He who loves, of gods or men, Shall not by the same be loved again; His sweetheart's idolatry Falls, in turn, a new degree. When a god is once beguiled By beauty of a mortal child And by her radiant youth delighted, He is not fooled, but warily knoweth His love shall never be requited. And thus the wise Immortal doeth,Ч 'T is his study and delight To bless that creature day and night; From all evils to defend her; In her lap to pour all splendor; To ransack earth for riches rare, And fetch her stars to deck her hair: He mixes music with her thoughts, And saddens her with heavenly doubts: All grace, all good his great heart knows, Profuse in love, the king bestows, Saying, 'Hearken! Earth, Sea, Air! This monument of my despair Build I to the All-Good, All-Fair. Not for a private good, But I, from my beatitude, Albeit scorned as none was scorned, Adorn her as was none adorned. I make this maiden an ensample To Nature, through her kingdoms ample, Whereby to model newer races, Statelier forms and fairer faces; To carry man to new degrees Of power and of comeliness. These presents be the hostages Which I pawn for my release. See to thyself, O Universe! Thou art better, and not worse.'Ч And the god, having given all, Is freed forever from his thrall.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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