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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
 
II. May-Day and Other Pieces
May-Day
 
DAUGHTER 1 of Heaven and Earth, coy Spring,
With sudden passion languishing,
Teaching barren moors to smile,
Painting pictures mile on mile,
Holds a cup with cowslip-wreaths,        5
Whence a smokeless incense breathes. 2
The air is full of whistlings bland;
What was that I heard
Out of the hazy land?
Harp of the wind, or song of bird, 3        10
Or vagrant booming of the air,
Voice of a meteor lost in day?
Such tidings of the starry sphere
Can this elastic air convey.
Or haply ’t was the cannonade        15
Of the pent and darkened lake,
Cooled by the pendent mountain’s shade,
Whose deeps, till beams of noonday break,
Afflicted moan, and latest hold
Even into May the iceberg cold.        20
Was it a squirrel’s pettish bark,
Or clarionet of jay? or hark
Where yon wedged line the Nestor leads,
Steering north with raucous cry
Through tracts and provinces of sky,        25
Every night alighting down
In new landscapes of romance,
Where darkling feed the clamorous clans
By lonely lakes to men unknown.
Come the tumult whence it will,        30
Voice of sport, or rush of wings,
It is a sound, it is a token
That the marble sleep is broken,
And a change has passed on things.
 
  When late I walked, in earlier days,        35
All was stiff and stark;
Knee-deep snows choked all the ways,
In the sky no spark;
Firm-braced I sought my ancient woods,
Struggling through the drifted roads;        40
The whited desert knew me not,
Snow-ridges masked each darling spot;
The summer dells, by genius haunted,
One arctic moon had disenchanted.
All the sweet secrets therein hid        45
By Fancy, ghastly spells undid.
Eldest mason, Frost, had piled
Swift cathedrals in the wild;
The piny hosts were sheeted ghosts
In the star-lit minster aisled.        50
I found no joy: the icy wind
Might rule the forest to his mind.
Who would freeze on frozen lakes?
Back to books and sheltered home,
And wood-fire flickering on the walls,        55
To hear, when, ’mid our talk and games,
Without the baffled North-wind calls.
But soft! a sultry morning breaks; 4
The ground-pines wash their rusty green,
The maple-tops their crimson tint,        60
On the soft path each track is seen,
The girl’s foot leaves its neater print.
The pebble loosened from the frost
Asks of the urchin to be tost.
In flint and marble beats a heart,        65
The kind Earth takes her children’s part, 5
The green lane is the school-boy’s friend,
Low leaves his quarrel apprehend,
The fresh ground loves his top and ball,
The air rings jocund to his call,        70
The brimming brook invites a leap,
He dives the hollow, climbs the steep. 6
The youth sees omens where he goes,
And speaks all languages the rose,
The wood-fly mocks with tiny voice        75
The far halloo of human voice;
The perfumed berry on the spray
Smacks of faint memories far away.
A subtle chain of countless rings
The next into the farthest brings,        80
And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form. 7
 
  The cagèd linnet in the Spring
Hearkens for the choral glee,
When his fellows on the wing        85
Migrate from the Southern Sea;
When trellised grapes their flowers unmask,
And the new-born tendrils twine,
The old wine darkling in the cask
Feels the bloom on the living vine,        90
And bursts the hoops at hint of Spring: 8
And so, perchance, in Adam’s race,
Of Eden’s bower some dream-like trace
Survived the Flight and swam the Flood,
And wakes the wish in youngest blood        95
To tread the forfeit Paradise,
And feed once more the exile’s eyes;
And ever when the happy child
In May beholds the blooming wild,
And hears in heaven the bluebird sing,        100
‘Onward,’ he cries, ‘your baskets bring,—
In the next field is air more mild,
And o’er yon hazy crest is Eden’s balmier spring.’
 
  Not for a regiment’s parade,
Nor evil laws or rulers made,        105
Blue Walden rolls its cannonade,
But for a lofty sign
Which the Zodiac threw,
That the bondage-days are told,
And waters free as winds shall flow. 9        110
Lo! how all the tribes combine
To rout the flying foe.
See, every patriot oak-leaf throws
His elfin length upon the snows,
Not idle, since the leaf all day        115
Draws to the spot the solar ray,
Ere sunset quarrying inches down,
And halfway to the mosses brown;
While the grass beneath the rime
Has hints of the propitious time,        120
And upward pries and perforates
Through the cold slab a thousand gates,
Till green lances peering through
Bend happy in the welkin blue.
 
  As we thaw frozen flesh with snow,        125
So Spring will not her time forerun,
Mix polar night with tropic glow,
Nor cloy us with unshaded sun,
Nor wanton skip with bacchic dance,
But she has the temperance        130
Of the gods, whereof she is one,—
Masks her treasury of heat
Under east winds crossed with sleet.
Plants and birds and humble creatures
Well accept her rule austere;        135
Titan-born, to hardy natures
Cold is genial and dear.
As Southern wrath to Northern right
Is but straw to anthracite;
As in the day of sacrifice,        140
When heroes piled the pyre,
The dismal Massachusetts ice
Burned more than others’ fire,
So Spring guards with surface cold
The garnered heat of ages old.        145
Hers to sow the seed of bread,
That man and all the kinds be fed;
And, when the sunlight fills the hours,
Dissolves the crust, displays the flowers.
 
  Beneath the calm, within the light,        150
A hid unruly appetite
Of swifter life, a surer hope,
Strains every sense to larger scope,
Impatient to anticipate
The halting steps of aged Fate.        155
Slow grows the palm, too slow the pearl:
When Nature falters, fain would zeal
Grasp the felloes of her wheel,
And grasping give the orbs another whirl.
Turn swiftlier round, O tardy ball!        160
And sun this frozen side.
Bring hither back the robin’s call,
Bring back the tulip’s pride.
 
  Why chidest thou the tardy Spring?
The hardy bunting does not chide;        165
The blackbirds make the maples ring
With social cheer and jubilee;
The redwing flutes his o-ka-lee,
The robins know the melting snow;
The sparrow meek, prophetic-eyed,        170
Her nest beside the snow-drift weaves,
Secure the osier yet will hide
Her callow brood in mantling leaves,—
And thou, by science all undone,
Why only must thy reason fail        175
To see the southing of the sun? 10
 
  The world rolls round,—mistrust it not,—
Befalls again what once befell;
All things return, both sphere and mote,
And I shall hear my bluebird’s note,        180
And dream the dream of Auburn dell. 11
 
  April cold with dropping rain
Willows and lilacs brings again,
The whistle of returning birds,
And trumpet-lowing of the herds.        185
The scarlet maple-keys betray
What potent blood hath modest May,
What fiery force the earth renews,
The wealth of forms, the flush of hues;
What joy in rosy waves outpoured        190
Flows from the heart of Love, the Lord.
 
  Hither rolls the storm of heat;
I feel its finer billows beat
Like a sea which me infolds; 12
Heat with viewless fingers moulds,        195
Swells, and mellows, and matures,
Paints, and flavors, and allures,
Bird and brier inly warms,
Still enriches and transforms,
Gives the reed and lily length,        200
Adds to oak and oxen strength, 13
Transforming what it doth infold,
Life out of death, new out of old,
Painting fawns’ and leopards’ fells,
Seethes the gulf-encrimsoning shells,        205
Fires gardens with a joyful blaze
Of tulips, in the morning’s rays.
The dead log touched bursts into leaf,
The wheat-blade whispers of the sheaf.
What god is this imperial Heat,        210
Earth’s prime secret, sculpture’s seat?
Doth it bear hidden in its heart
Water-line patterns of all art?
Is it Dædalus? is it Love?
Or walks in mask almighty Jove,        215
And drops from Power’s redundant horn
All seeds of beauty to be born?
 
  Where shall we keep the holiday,
And duly greet the entering May?
Too strait and low our cottage doors,        220
And all unmeet our carpet floors;
Nor spacious court, nor monarch’s hall,
Suffice to hold the festival.
Up and away! where haughty woods
Front the liberated floods:        225
We will climb the broad-backed hills,
Hear the uproar of their joy;
We will mark the leaps and gleams
Of the new-delivered streams,
And the murmuring rivers of sap        230
Mount in the pipes of the trees,
Giddy with day, to the topmost spire,
Which for a spike of tender green
Bartered its powdery cap;
And the colors of joy in the bird,        235
And the love in its carol heard,
Frog and lizard in holiday coats,
And turtle brave in his golden spots;
While cheerful cries of crag and plain
Reply to the thunder of river and main. 14        240
 
  As poured the flood of the ancient sea
Spilling over mountain chains,
Bending forests as bends the sedge,
Faster flowing o’er the plains,—
A world-wide wave with a foaming edge        245
That rims the running silver sheet,—
So pours the deluge of the heat
Broad northward o’er the land,
Painting artless paradises,
Drugging herbs with Syrian spices, 15        250
Fanning secret fires which glow
In columbine and clover-blow,
Climbing the northern zones,
Where a thousand pallid towns
Lie like cockles by the main,        255
Or tented armies on a plain.
The million-handed sculptor moulds
Quaintest bud and blossom folds,
The million-handed painter pours
Opal hues and purple dye;        260
Azaleas flush the island floors,
And the tints of heaven reply.
 
  Wreaths for the May! for happy Spring
To-day shall all her dowry bring,
The love of kind, the joy, the grace,        265
Hymen of element and race,
Knowing well to celebrate
With song and hue and star and state,
With tender light and youthful cheer,
The spousals of the new-born year.        270
 
  Spring is strong and virtuous,
Broad-sowing, cheerful, plenteous,
Quickening underneath the mould
Grains beyond the price of gold.
So deep and large her bounties are,        275
That one broad, long midsummer day
Shall to the planet overpay
The savage of a year of war.
 
  Drug the cup, thou butler sweet,
And send the nectar round;        280
The feet that slid so long on sleet
Are glad to feel the ground.
Fill and saturate each kind
With good according to its mind,
Fill each kind and saturate        285
With good agreeing with its fate,
And soft perfection of its plan—
Willow and violet, maiden and man.
 
  The bitter-sweet, the haunting air
Creepeth, bloweth everywhere;        290
It preys on all, all prey on it,
Blooms in beauty, thinks in wit,
Stings the strong with enterprise,
Makes travellers long for Indian skies,
And where it comes this courier fleet        295
Fans in all hearts expectance sweet,
As if to-morrow should redeem
The vanished rose of evening’s dream.
By houses lies a fresher green,
On men and maids a ruddier mien,        300
As if Time brought a new relay
Of shining virgins every May,
And Summer came to ripen maids
To a beauty that not fades.
 
  I saw the bud-crowned Spring go forth,        305
Stepping daily onward north
To greet staid ancient cavaliers
Filing single in stately train.
And who, and who are the travellers?
They were Night and Day, and Day and Night,        310
Pilgrims wight with step forthright.
I saw the Days deformed and low,
Short and bent by cold and snow;
The merry Spring threw wreaths on them,
Flower-wreaths gay with bud and bell;        315
Many a flower and many a gem,
They were refreshed by the smell,
They shook the snow from hats and shoon,
They put their April raiment on;
And those eternal forms,        320
Unhurt by a thousand storms,
Shot up to the height of the sky again,
And danced as merrily as young men.
I saw them mask their awful glance
Sidewise meek in gossamer lids;        325
And to speak my thought if none forbids
It was as if the eternal gods,
Tired of their starry periods,
Hid their majesty in cloth
Woven of tulips and painted moth.        330
On carpets green the maskers march
Below May’s well-appointed arch,
Each star, each god, each grace amain,
Every joy and virtue speed,
Marching duly in her train,        335
And fainting Nature at her need
Is made whole again. 16
 
  ’T was the vintage-day of field and wood,
When magic wine for bards is brewed;
Every tree and stem and chink        340
Gushed with syrup to the brink.
The air stole into the streets of towns,
Refreshed the wise, reformed the clowns,
And betrayed the fund of joy
To the high-school and medalled boy:        345
On from hall to chamber ran,
From youth to maid, from boy to man,
To babes, and to old eyes as well.
‘Once more,’ the old man cried, ‘ye clouds,
Airy turrets purple-piled,        350
Which once my infancy beguiled,
Beguile me with the wonted spell.
I know ye skilful to convoy
The total freight of hope and joy
Into rude and homely nooks,        355
Shed mocking lustres on shelf of books,
On farmer’s byre, on pasture rude,
And stony pathway to the wood.
I care not if the pomps you show
Be what they soothfast appear,        360
Or if yon realms in sunset glow
Be bubbles of the atmosphere.
And if it be to you allowed
To fool me with a shining cloud,
So only new griefs are consoled        365
By new delights, as old by old,
Frankly I will be your guest,
Count your change and cheer the best.
The world hath overmuch of pain,—
If Nature give me joy again,        370
Of such deceit I ’ll not complain.’
 
  Ah! well I mind the calendar,
Faithful through a thousand years,
Of the painted race of flowers,
Exact to days, exact to hours,        375
Counted on the spacious dial
Yon broidered zodiac girds.
I know the trusty almanac
Of the punctual coming-back,
On their due days, of the birds.        380
I marked them yestermorn,
A flock of finches darting
Beneath the crystal arch,
Piping, as they flew, a march,—
Belike the one they used in parting        385
Last year from yon oak or larch;
Dusky sparrows in a crowd,
Diving, darting northward free,
Suddenly betook them all,
Every one to his hole in the wall,        390
Or to his niche in the apple-tree.
I greet with joy the choral trains
Fresh from palms and Cuba’s canes.
Best gems of Nature’s cabinet,
With dews of tropic morning wet,        395
Beloved of children, bards and Spring,
O birds, your perfect virtues bring,
Your song, your forms, your rhythmic flight,
Your manners for the heart’s delight,
Nestle in hedge, or barn, or roof,        400
Here weave your chamber weather-proof,
Forgive our harms, and condescend
To man, as to a lubber friend,
And, generous, teach his awkward race
Courage and probity and grace! 17        405
 
  Poets praise that hidden wine
Hid in milk we drew
At the barrier of Time,
When our life was new.
We had eaten fairy fruit,        410
We were quick from head to foot,
All the forms we looked on shone
As with diamond dews thereon.
What cared we for costly joys,
The Museum’s far-fetched toys?        415
Gleam of sunshine on the wall
Poured a deeper cheer than all
The revels of the Carnival.
We a pine-grove did prefer
To a marble theatre,        420
Could with gods on mallows dine,
Nor cared for spices or for wine.
Wreaths of mist and rainbow spanned,
Arch on arch, the grimmest land;
Whistle of a woodland bird        425
Made the pulses dance,
Note of horn in valleys heard
Filled the region with romance.
 
  None can tell how sweet,
How virtuous, the morning air;        430
Every accent vibrates well;
Not alone the wood-bird’s call,
Or shouting boys that chase their ball,
Pass the height of minstrel skill,
But the ploughman’s thoughtless cry,        435
Lowing oxen, sheep that bleat,
And the joiner’s hammer-beat,
Softened are above their will,
Take tones from groves they wandered through
Or flutes which passing angels blew.        440
All grating discords melt,
No dissonant note is dealt,
And though thy voice be shrill
Like rasping file on steel,
Such is the temper of the air,        445
Echo waits with art and care,
And will the faults of song repair.
 
  So by remote Superior Lake,
And by resounding Mackinac,
When northern storms the forest shake,        450
And billows on the long beach break,
The artful Air will separate
Note by note all sounds that grate,
Smothering in her ample breast
All but godlike words,        455
Reporting to the happy ear
Only purified accords.
Strangely wrought from barking waves,
Soft music daunts the Indian braves,—
Convent-chanting which the child        460
Hears pealing from the panther’s cave
And the impenetrable wild. 18
 
  Soft on the South-wind sleeps the haze:
So on thy broad mystic van
Lie the opal-colored days,        465
And waft the miracle to man.
Soothsayer of the eldest gods,
Repairer of what harms betide,
Revealer of the inmost powers
Prometheus proffered, Jove denied;        470
Disclosing treasures more than true,
Or in what far to-morrow due;
Speaking by the tongues of flowers,
By the ten-tongued laurel speaking,
Singing by the oriole songs,        475
Heart of bird the man’s heart seeking;
Whispering hints of treasure hid
Under Morn’s unlifted lid,
Islands looming just beyond
The dim horizon’s utmost bound;—        480
Who can, like thee, our rags upbraid,
Or taunt us with our hope decayed?
Or who like thee persuade,
Making the splendor of the air,
The morn and sparkling dew, a snare?        485
Or who resent
Thy genius, wiles and blandishment?
 
  There is no orator prevails
To beckon or persuade
Like thee the youth or maid: 19        490
Thy birds, thy songs, thy brooks, thy gales,
Thy blooms, thy kinds,
Thy echoes in the wilderness,
Soothe pain, and age, and love’s distress,
Fire fainting will, and build heroic minds.        495
 
  For thou, O Spring! canst renovate
All that high God did first create.
Be still his arm and architect,
Rebuild the ruin, mend defect;
Chemist to vamp old worlds with new,        500
Coat sea and sky with heavenlier blue,
New tint the plumage of the birds,
And slough decay from grazing herds,
Sweep ruins from the scarped mountain,
Cleanse the torrent at the fountain,        505
Purge alpine air by towns defiled,
Bring to fair mother fairer child,
Not less renew the heart and brain,
Scatter the sloth, wash out the stain,
Make the aged eye sun-clear,        510
To parting soul bring grandeur near.
Under gentle types, my Spring
Masks the might of Nature’s king,
An energy that searches thorough
From Chaos to the dawning morrow;        515
Into all our human plight,
The soul’s pilgrimage and flight;
In city or in solitude,
Step by step, lifts bad to good,
Without halting, without rest,        520
Lifting Better up to Best;
Planting seeds of knowledge pure,
Through earth to ripen, through heaven endure.
 
Note 1. In 1867, Mr. Emerson gathered into a new volume the poems of the twenty-one years since the publication of the first, and gave it the name May-Day from the happy lyric in honor of Spring with which it opens. His ear had improved, and, though the original vigor remained in the poems, many of them had been kept long by him and had ripened fully. “May-Day,” the poem, was probably written in snatches in the woods on his afternoon walks, through many years. Some lines are in journals of 1845. After its publication he saw that the ordering of the different passages to give the advance of Spring was not quite successful, and in the Selected Poems, published nine years later, he improved, but did not quite perfect, the arrangement, for at that time he found mental effort of that sort confusing. Therefore in the posthumous edition of the Poems in 1883, at the suggestion of the present editor, Mr. Cabot consented to a slight further change made with the same intent. [back]
Note 2. Of the following six lines in one of the verse-books all but the first were in the first edition:—
  Dripping dew-cold daffodillies,
Making drunk with draught of lilies,
Girls are peeling the sweet willow,
Poplar white, and Gilead-tree,
And troops of boys shouting with whoop, and hilloa
And hip, hip, three times three.
 [back]
Note 3. This line with a suggestion of English pastoral, found in the first edition, was omitted by the author:—
  Or clapping of shepherd’s hands.
 [back]
Note 4. The stanza had, in the first edition, a different ending:—
  The cowslips make the brown brook gay;
A happier hour, a longer day.
Now the sun leads in the May,
Now desire of action wakes,
And the wish to roam.
 [back]
Note 5. In the verse-book here followed the couplet—
  Her cottage chamber, wall and beam,
Glows with the maid’s delicious dream.
 [back]
Note 6. It seems as if it must have been by accident that the remarkable lines, concluding this stanza, beginning “The youth sees omens,”—six of which, in a different order, served as the motto to the second edition of Nature, in 1849,—were omitted in the posthumous edition. They followed immediately in this place. [back]
Note 7. These last four lines are often quoted to show how early Mr. Emerson accepted the doctrine of evolution. It is not certain in what year they were written, but a sentence in the unpublished lecture on the Humanity of Science, given in Boston in 1836, has exactly the same thought. He alludes to Lamarck as “finding a monad of organic life common to every animal, and becoming a worm, a mastiff, or a man, according to circumstances. He says to the caterpillar, How dost thou, brother? Please God, you shall yet be a philosopher.”
  The ancient philosophers, as well as the modern savans, taught Emerson evolution. To the first edition of Nature Mr. Emerson prefixed a motto from Plotinus, and Dr. William T. Harris finds the thought of the later motto in these words from the same source: “We might say that all beings, not only the rational ones but even the irrational ones, the plants and even the soil that bears them, aspire to attain conscious knowledge.”
  In his journal for 1849 Mr. Emerson quotes this sentence from Stallo: “The development of all individual forms will be spiral.”—General Principles of the Philosophy of Nature; Boston, 1848. [back]
Note 8. Mr. Nicholas Longworth, who practised wine-making on a large scale near Cincinnati, was Mr. Emerson’s host when he lectured there, and, according to Mr. M. D. Conway, suggested this thought when he showed his wine-cellars to his guest, by telling him of the renewed activity of fermentation in the Spring. [back]
Note 9. Journal, 1856. “April 5, Walden fired a cannonade yesterday of a hundred guns, but not in honor of the birth of Napoleon.”
  In Concord, by village comity, the two field-pieces of the Concord Artillery Company were too often lent to political enthusiasts to celebrate the election of their pro-slavery candidate, and the editor thinks that he remembers their firing, on the news of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. [back]
Note 10. It is interesting to see how the association of blessed warmth and life with his favorite South-wind led the author to forget that the southing of the sun meant the coming of winter. Yet “the northing of the sun” would have a comfortless sound. [back]
Note 11. In his college days the boy must often have gone to the beautiful wooded hills of Mount Auburn, not then a cemetery, above the broad marshes of the Charles River. Journal, 1861. “Ah, the powers of the Spring, and ah, the voice of the bluebird and the witchcraft of the Mount Auburn dell in those days!” [back]
Note 12. Journal, 10 June, 1838. “Noon. Mercury, 90° in the shade. River of heat, yea, a circumambient sea. Welcome as truly as finer and coarser influences to this mystic solitary ‘purple island’ that I am! I celebrate the holy hour at church amid these fine Creative deluges of light and heat which evoke so many gentle traits, gentle and bold in man and woman. Man in Summer is Man intensated.” [back]
Note 13. These lines of the original were omitted:
  Boils the world in tepid lakes,
Burns the world, yet burnt remakes;
Enveloping heat, enchanted robe,
Wraps the daisy and the globe.
 [back]
Note 14. In one of the verse-books I find the original rhapsody of this part of the poem, which runs thus:
  The Spring comes up from the South
And Earth and air are overflowed,
Earth with the melted ice,
And air with love infusion.
There is no house or hall
Can hold her festival.
We will go to her haughty woods
Fronting the liberated floods;
We will go to the relenting mountains,
And listen to the uproar of joy,
And see the sparkle of the delivered rivers,
And mark the rivers of sap
Mounting in the pipes of the trees,
And see the colors of love in birds,
And in frogs and lizards,
And in human cheeks,
In the song of birds
And songs of men.
 [back]
Note 15. Here are some notes on Nature’s spices, from a verse-book:—
  Spices in the plants that run
To bring their first fruits to the sun,
Earliest heats that follow frore,
Nerved leaf of hellebore,
Scarlet maple-keys that burn
Above the sassafras and fern,
Frost survivors, berries red,
Checkerberry,—children’s bread,—
Silver birch and black
With the selfsame spice to find
In polygala’s root and rind;
Mouse-ear, cowslip, wintergreen,
Which by their beauty may repel
The frost from harming what is well.
 [back]
Note 16. The divine days in lowly disguise often appear in Mr. Emerson’s writings in prose and verse: at best here and in the poem “Days,” but also in “Works and Days” (Society and Solitude, p. 168) and in the first paragraph of the “Lecture on the Times,” in Nature, Addresses and Lectures. [back]
Note 17. This affectionate address to the birds may be found in another version among the “Fragments on Nature,” in the Appendix to the Poems. [back]
Note 18. Mr. Emerson was told in 1874, by his brother-in-law, Dr. Charles T. Jackson, that while making a geological survey near Pulpit Rock, on Lake Superior, he heard music like rhythmical organ or vocal chantings, and believed it to come from some singers. He went on a little farther and the music ceased; in another direction, and he heard it again; and by and by perceived that it was the sound of the beating waves on the shore, deprived of its harshness by the atmosphere. This phenomenon, which he called Analyzed Sound, he had never seen treated scientifically, except in a paper by Dr. Wollaston.
  I myself, while going across the Plains in an emigrants’ caravan in July, 1862, when in the neighborhood of Fort Laramie, strayed alone three or four hundred yards from our camp into a grove of large cottonwoods on the shore of the North Platte River. Suddenly I heard wonderful music not far away, which I could not account for. It seemed loud but rather sad, perhaps suggesting cathedral music, yet was indistinct and seemed unnatural. It was wholly unlike the tom-tom and hideous chanting of the Sioux, and no white settlement or gathering was near except our camp. On my return thither I asked about the music. No one had heard it. The day was cold and cloudy, after great heat,—a brisk norther blowing. We were close by the broad, rushing Platte leaping in short waves in the wind. Only some time after my return did I hear from my uncle of his similar experience.
  In “May-Day,” as first published, here followed the passage age on the Æolian Harp which, in the Selected Poems, Mr. Emerson preferred to print as a separate poem. It appears as such in this volume. [back]
Note 19. From this place was omitted the line,
  Nor noon nor eve this music fails.
 [back]
 
 
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