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some youthful festival, half religious, half social, in which he took part, and the memory of which still stirs his emotions.

Emerson finally dropped the church, but he never ceased to be a clergyman. He was like a flower escaped from the garden, and finding a lodgment in an adjoining field, but which never ceased to be a garden flower. A certain sanctity and unworldliness always clung to him, a certain remoteness from the common thoughts, aims, attractions, of everyday humanity. If he had been a better worldling he would have been a better poet, that is, if he had had more of the feelings, passions, sympathies and thoughts of ordinary men. These things would have given him more flexibility and brought him closer to human life. Rarely, as poet or prose writer, could he speak in the tone of the people. There was always, more or less concealed, the tone of the pulpit. Mr. James expressed this idea well when he said that Emerson "had no prosaic side relating him to ordinary people."

This prosaic side is very important to the poet, or to any man who would touch and move his fellow-men. We desire our singer or teacher to be of the same flesh and blood as ourselves. Emerson was always a preacher, and his theme, by whatever name he called it, was always religion, or what he called religion, namely, the universality of the moral law.

No lover of Emerson, I imagine, would have had him other than what he was; I certainly would not.

At the same time it is a pleasure to explore his limitations and see just what he was, and what he was not. He was a rare soul, probably the most astral genius in English or any other literature. His books are for young men and for those of a religious cast of mind. His signal defect as a writer, as a contributor to the world's literature, arises from this same want of sympathy with the world, from the select, abridged, circumscribed character of his genius. He did not and could not deal with human life as Montaigne, or Bacon, or Plutarch, or Cicero did.

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He was conscious of his defect in this direction, and would fain have had it otherwise. Thus he writes in his journal in 1839 : "We would all be public men if we could afford it. I am wholly private; such is the poverty of my constitution.

Heaven betrayed me to a book and wrapped me in a gown.' I have no social talent, no will, and a steady appetite for insights in any or all directions, to balance my manifold imbecilities." He even quotes approvingly the remark of some one that he

always seemed to be on stilts." "It is even so. Most of the persons whom I see in my own house I see across a gulf. I cannot go to them nor they come to me." He lacked sympathy with men. He cared nothing for persons as such, but only for the genius of humanity which they embodied, and this genius of humanity he did not find in any sufficiency in ordinary mortals.

He writes in his journal, "I like man, but not

men!" He liked ideas, but not things. He dwelt in the abstract, not in the concrete. "In the highest friendship," he says, "we form a league with the Idea of the man who stands to us in that relation - not with the actual person." And his letters, fine and eloquent as most of them are, do not read like a message from one person to another person, but from one Idea to another Idea.


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Yet Emerson's leading trait is eminently AmeriI mean his hospitality toward the new, the eagerness with which he sought and welcomed the new idea and the new man. Perhaps we might call it his inborn radicalism. No writer ever made such rash, such extreme statements, in the hope that some new truth might be compassed. Anything new and daring instantly challenged his attention. His face was wholly set toward the future, the new. The past was discredited the moment it became the past. "The coming only is sacred," he said ; "no truth so sublime but it may be trivial to-morrow in the light of new thoughts."

As a writer, he sought to make all the old thoughts appear trivial in the light of his audacious affirmations. He stood ready at all times to strike his colors to the man who could bring a larger generalization than his own. All his knowledge, all his opinions, were at the mercy of the new idea. He did not tread the beaten paths, or seek truth in the logical way; he sought for it by spurts and sallies of the mind. He called himself an "experimenter," and said he did not pretend to settle anything as true

No facts are to

or false. "I unsettle all things. me sacred; none are profane: I simply experiment; an endless seeker with no Past at my back." In his random, prophetic way he hits on many sublime truths hits on them by sheer force of affirmation, like the truth of evolution, and of the correlation of forces. Indeed, there are few great thoughts current in our time that were not indicated by the bold guessing of Emerson. The fragmentary and projectile-like character of his thinking is often very effective. He spent no force upon logic, upon fortifying his position, but sent his single bullet as far and as deep as he could. Emerson's hope and confidence in the new is shown in his serious prophecy and expectancy of the coming man.

He was apparently always on the lookout for a new and greater man than had yet appeared. He was always sweeping the horizon for this strange sail. "A new person," he says, " is to me a great event, and keeps me from sleep." He met every stranger with a curious, expectant glance. He looked at you and waited for you to speak, as if the thought that perhaps here is the man for, was never absent from his mind.

I am waiting

"If the com

panions of our childhood," he says, "should turn out to be heroes, and their condition regal, it would not surprise us." But the experience of most persons, I fancy, points just the other way we are always incredulous when told that our playmates have turned out to be heroes; just as the whole world, except the Emersons in it, are skeptical of

the worth of the new idea, or of the new invention.

Emerson does not so much expound a philosophy as he celebrates a sentiment or a law. He does not inculcate a virtue, but quickens our moral sense. He does not teach a religion, but shows all nature as religious. His method is not that of the analyst; he celebrates and presents whole what others give in detail. His mind is deficient in continuity, but strong in affirmation, strong in its separate sallies and flights. He has not a definite, practical bent like Carlyle; he seldom lays his hand on any current evil or want, but rather glorifies the world as it is. He is abstract in his aim, and concrete in his methods. He fixes his eye on the star, but would make it draw his wagon.

Carlyle was like an engine tied to its iron rails,

he turned aside for nothing; Emerson was more like a sailing yacht that hovers about all shores and takes advantage of every breeze.

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