Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
 
V. Appendix
Philosopher
 
PHILOSOPHERS are lined with eyes within,
And, being so, the sage unmakes the man.
In love, he cannot therefore cease his trade;
Scarce the first blush has overspread his cheek,
He feels it, introverts his learned eye        5
To catch the unconscious heart in the very act.
 
His mother died,—the only friend he had,—
Some tears escaped, but his philosophy
Couched like a cat sat watching close behind
And throttled all his passion. Is’t not like        10
That devil-spider that devours her mate
Scarce freed from her embraces? 1
 
Note 1. There is a passage in the journal for 1845, called “Icy light,” on the cold-bloodedness of the philosopher, most of which is printed in Representative Men:
  “Intellect puts an interval…. It is the chief deduction, almost the sole deduction from the merit of Plato (that which is no doubt incidental to this regnancy of the intellect in his work), that his writings have not the vital authority which the screams of prophets and the sermons of unlettered Arabs and Jews possess. There is an interval; and to the cohesion, contact is necessary. Intellect is the king of non-committal: answers with generalities. He gave me wit instead of love.” [back]
 
 
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