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
 
VI. Poems of Youth and Early Manhood (1823–1834)
A Letter
 
DEAR brother, would you know the life,
Please God, that I would lead?
On the first wheels that quit this weary town
Over you western bridges I would ride
And with a cheerful benison forsake        5
Each street and spire and roof, incontinent.
Then would I seek where God might guide my steps,
Deep in a woodland tract, a sunny farm,
Amid the mountain counties, Hants, Franklin, Berks,
Where down the rock ravine a river roars,        10
Even from a brook, and where old woods
Not tamed and cleared cumber the ground
With their centennial wrecks.
Find me a slope where I can feel the sun
And mark the rising of the early stars.        15
There will I bring my books,—my household gods,
The reliquaries of my dead saint, and dwell
In the sweet odor of her memory.
Then in the uncouth solitude unlock
My stock of art, plant dials in the grass,        20
Hang in the air a bright thermometer
And aim a telescope at the inviolate sun.
  CHARDON ST., BOSTON, 1831.
 
DAY by day returns
The everlasting sun,
Replenishing material urns        25
With God’s unspared donation;
But the day of day,
The orb within the mind,
Creating fair and good alway,
Shines not as once it shined.
*        *        *        *        *
        30
Vast the realm of Being is,
In the waste one nook is his;
Whatsoever hap befalls
In his vision’s narrow walls
He is here to testify.
  1831.
        35
 
 
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