« ElőzőTovább »
On the day of the birth of his second daughter, Mr. Emerson wrote in his journal:
Nov. 22, 1841. « There came into the house a young maiden, but she seemed to be more than a thousand years
old. She came into the house naked and helpless, but she had for her defence more than the strength of millions. She brought into the day the manners of the Night.”
Page 317, note 2. This is a version of lines quoted, but not credited, by Mr. Emerson in “ The Over-Soul,” of which I have in vain sought for the author. It is said that Spirit
“ Can crowd eternity into an hour
Or stretch an hour into eternity." Page 318, note 1. In his notes upon himself Mr. Emerson wrote, “ My only secret was that all men were my masters. I thought each who talked with me older than 1.”
Page 319, note 1. “I find it a great and fatal difference whether I court the Muse, or the Muse courts me. That is the ugly disparity between age and youth."- Manuscript of « Old Age.
Page 320, note 1. In Tennyson's " Tithonus,” the ole and weary man says to Aurora, his divine mistress, " I ask'd thee, «Give me immortality.'
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Page 321, note 1. « Presque tous les bons ouvriers vivent longtemps: c'est qu'ils accomplissent une loi de la Providence." - Béranger.
Page 323, note 1. In connection with the mention of this great man, this quotation from a letter written in his old age is copied from Mr. Emerson's journal: —
“ Humboldt in 1843 congratulates his friend Karl Ritter, on the appearance of Zimmermann's map of the Upper Nile. • If,' he says, “a life prolonged to an advanced period, brings with it several inconveniences to the individual, there is a compensation in the delight of being able to compare older states of knowledge with that which now exists, and to see great advances in knowledge develop themselves under our eyes in departments which had long slept in inactivity, with the exception perhaps of attempts by hypercriticism to render previous acquisitions doubtful. This enjoyment has fallen to our share in our geographical studies.'"
Page 324, note 1. In the journals written near Mr. Emerson's sixtieth year he good-naturedly treats the semi-comic aspects and compensations, as thus:
My humorous friend told me that old age was cheap: Time drew out his teeth gratis, and a suction-plate would last him as long as he lived; he does not go to the hair-dresser, for Time cut off his hair; and he had lived so long, and bought so many clothes, that he should not need to buy any
“ N. said in the car to a chance companion Yes, but I am an old man and can't do so or so.' Instead of the indignant denial he expected, the stranger replied, • Yes, you are an old man and that makes a difference.' Vain was his use of the dodge of old men, giving themselves for ten years older than they are; the companion quietly accepted it as true."
In the journal of 1864 I find this entry:
• The following page should have been printed in Society and Solitude, in the chapter called • Old Age.'
« Old age brings along with its uglinesses the comfort that you will soon be out of it, - which ought to be a substantial relief to such discontented pendulums as we are. To be out of the war, out of debt, out of the drouth, out of the blues, out of the dentist's hands, out of the second thoughts, mortifications and remorses that inflict such twinges and shooting pains, out of the next winter, and the high prices, and company below your ambition, — surely these are soothing hints. And harbinger of this, what an alleviator is sleep, which muzzles all these dogs for me every day? Old age —'Tis proposed to call an indignation-meeting."
Page 324, note 2. A similar passage is in the first pages of the essay on Culture in Conduct of Life.
Page 325, note 1. • In his consciousness of deserving success, the caliph Ali constantly neglected the ordinary means of attaining it; and to the grand interests, a superficial success is of no account." - "Aristocracy," Lectures and Biographical Sketches.
Page 328, note 1.
- fault of novel germs, Mature the unfallen fruit.
« Terminus,” Poems.
Page 329, note 1. The little white star-flower of our May woods, resembling an anemone.
Page 330, note 1. This must have been Dr. John Snelling Popkin, Eliot Professor of Greek Literature at Harvard College, a graduate of 1792.
Page 331, note 1. Virgil, Æneid, Book iv. 654.
Page 331, note 2. Another view is taken in the EarthSong in his poem “ Hamatreya."
Page 334, note 1. George Whitefield (1714-1770), the English clergyman of humble origin, but devoted to religion from early youth.
He studied at Oxford and formed a friendship with Wesley, and became, after his ordination, a preacher of extraordinary eloquence and power, addressing gatherings of thousands of people in the open air. He visited New England seven times, and preached with great effect, both in the North and the Southern States.
Page 336, note 1. Quisque amat, nulla est conditione senex.
Page 336, note 2. The following extracts show Mr. Emerson's calm philosophy.
Journal, 1864. “Let us not parade our rags; let us not, moved by vanity, tear our hair at the corners of streets, or in the sitting-room, but, as age and infirmity steal on us, contentedly resign the front seat and the games to these bright children, our better representatives; nor expect compliments or inquiries, much less gifts or love, any longer (which to expect is ridiculous), and not at all wondering why our friends do not come to us, much more wondering when they do, decently withdraw ourselves into modest and solitary resignation and
- Old age
Mr. Emerson's thought concerning old age in 1840 was borne out by his life to the end: I see no need of it.
Whilst we converse with what is above us we do not grow old, but grow young. Infancy, youth, receptive, aspiring, with religious eye looking upward, counts itself nothing and abandons itself to the instruction flowing in from all sides. But the man and woman of seventy assume to know all, throw up their hope, renounce aspiration, accept the actual for the necessary, and talk down to
Is it possible a man should not grow old ? I will not answer for this crazy body. It seems a ship which carries him through the waves of this world and whose timbers contract barnacles and dry-rot, and will not serve for a second course. But I refuse to admit this appeal to the old people we know as valid against a good hope. For do we know one who is an organ of the Holy Ghost ? ”