Fable The Rhodora The mountain and the squirrel Had a quarrel, On Being Asked Whence Is The FlowerAnd the former called the latter, "little prig": Bun replied, In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes, You are doubtless very big, I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods, But all sorts of things and weather Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook, Must be taken in together To please the desert and sluggish brook. To make up a year, The purple petals, fallen in the pool, And a sphere. Made the black water with their beauty gay; And I think it no disgrace Here might the redbird come his plumes to cool, To occupy my place. And court the flower that cheapens his array. If Im not so large as you, Rhodora! If the sages ask thee why You are not so small as I, This charm is wasted on the earth and sky, And not half so spry: Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, Ill not deny you make Then beauty is its own excuse for being: A very pretty squirrel track; Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose! Talents differ; all is well and wisely put; I never thought to ask, I never knew: If I cannot carry forests on my back, But, in my simple ignorance, suppose Neither can you crack a nut. The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.
Ralph Waldo EmersonEmerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882), American essayist and poet, a leader of the philosophical movement oftranscendentalism. Influenced by such schools of thought as English romanticism, Neoplatonism, and Hindu philosophy.Emerson is noted for his skill in presenting his ideas eloquently and in poetic language.Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Seven of his ancestors were ministers, and his father, William Emerson, wasminister of the First Church (Unitarian) of Boston. Emerson graduated from Harvard University at the age of 18 and for thenext three years taught school in Boston. In 1829 he became minister of the Second Church (Unitarian) of Boston. Thatsame year he married Ellen Tucker, who died 17 months later. In 1832 Emerson resigned from his pastoral appointmentbecause of personal doubts about administering the sacrament of the Lords Supper. On Christmas Day, 1832, he left theUnited States for a tour of Europe. He stayed for some time in England, where he made the acquaintance of such Britishliterary notables as Walter Savage Landor, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Carlyle, and William Wordsworth. Hismeeting with Carlyle marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship.On his return to the United States in 1833, Emerson settled in Concord, Massachusetts, and became active as a lecturer inBoston. His addresses—including "The Philosophy of History," "Human Culture," "Human Life," and "The PresentAge"—were based on material in his Journals (published posthumously, 1909-1914), a collection of observations and notesthat he had begun while a student at Harvard. His most detailed statement of belief was reserved for his first publishedbook, Nature (1836), which appeared anonymously but was soon correctly attributed to him. The volume received littlenotice, but it has come to be regarded as Emersons most original and significant work, offering the essence of hisphilosophy of transcendentalism. This idealist doctrine opposed the popular materialist and Calvinist (see Calvinism) viewsof life and at the same time voiced a plea for freedom of the individual from artificial restraints.Emerson applied these ideas to cultural and intellectual problems in his 1837 lecture "The American Scholar," which hedelivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard. In it he called for American intellectual independence. A second
address, commonly referred to as the "Address at Divinity College," delivered in 1838 to the graduating class ofCambridge Divinity College, aroused considerable controversy because it attacked formal religion and argued for self-reliance and intuitive spiritual experience.The first volume of Emersons Essays (1841) includes some of his most popular works. In the interval between thepublication of these two volumes, Emerson wrote for The Dial, the journal of New England transcendentalism, which wasfounded in 1840 with American critic Margaret Fuller as editor. Emerson succeeded her as editor in 1842 and remained inthat capacity until the journal ceased publication in 1844. In 1846 his first volume of Poems was published (dated,however, 1847).Emerson again went abroad from 1847 to 1848 and lectured in England, where he was welcomed by Carlyle. His Journalsgive evidence of his growing interest in national issues, and on his return to America he became active in the abolitionistcause, delivering many antislavery speeches.Emerson is remembered as one of the leading thinkers and poets of the transcendentalism movement. He remains one ofAmericas most popular poets.