Note 1. For this poem, as for the essays on Love and Friendship and the poems To Rhea and The Initial, Dæmonic and Celestial Love, what Mr. Joel Benton says of Mr. Emersons verses seems true: Let us admit at the outset, if you will, that the fortitude of his strainas Matthew Arnold says of the verses of Epictetusis for the strong, for the few; even for them the spiritual atmosphere with which it surrounds them is bleak and grayand that
The solemn peaks but to the stars are known,
But to the stars and the cold lunar beams;
Alone the sun arises, and alone
Spring the great streams.
[Emerson as a Poet. By Joel Benton. New York: M. L. Holbrook & Co., 1883.] [back]
Note 2. This thought appears in the image at the end of The Initial Love:
Note 3. The last two lines of the poem are used by Kipling in a remarkable manner in his beautiful allegory The Children of the Zodiac, for which they possibly suggested the theme. Mr. Emerson presents the same idea often in his prose writings, best perhaps in the essay on Compensation: The death of a dear friend, wife, brother, lover, which seemed nothing but privation, somewhat later assumes the aspect of a guide or genius; for it commonly operates revolutions in our way of life, terminates an epoch of infancy or of youth which was waiting to be closed, breaks up a wonted occupation, or a household, or style of living, and allows the formation of new ones more friendly to the growth of character. It permits or constrains the formation of new acquaintances and the reception of new influences that prove of the first importance to the next years; and the man or woman who would have remained a sunny garden-flower, with no room for its roots and too much sunshine for its head, by the falling of the walls and the neglect of the gardener is made the banian of the forest, yielding shade and fruit to wide neighborhoods of men. He quotes Hafiz in the journals to this purpose: Here is the sum, that when one door opens another shuts. [back]