Essays: First Series

First published in 1841 as Essays.  After Essays: Second Series was published in 1844, Emerson corrected this volume and republished it in 1847 as Essays: First Series.

History

Essays: First Series History There is no great and no small To the Soul that maketh all: And where it cometh, all things are; And it cometh everywhere. I am owner of the sphere, Of the seven stars and the solar year, Of Caesar’s hand, and Plato’s brain, Of Lord…

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Self-Reliance

Essays: First Series Self-Reliance “Ne te quaesiveris extra.” “Man is his own star; and the soul that can Render an honest and a perfect man, Commands all light, all influence, all fate; Nothing to him falls early or too late. Our acts our angels are, or good or ill, Our…

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Compensation

Text Compensation The wings of Time are black and white, Pied with morning and with night. Mountain tall and ocean deep Trembling balance duly keep. In changing moon, in tidal wave, Glows the feud of Want and Have. Gauge of more and less through space Electric star and pencil plays.…

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Spiritual Laws

Essays: First Series Spiritual Laws The living Heaven thy prayers respect, House at once and architect, Quarrying man’s rejected hours, Builds therewith eternal towers; Sole and self-commanded works, Fears not undermining days, Grows by decays, And, by the famous might that lurks In reaction and recoil, Makes flame to freeze,…

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Love

Essays: First Series Love “I was as a gem concealed; Me my burning ray revealed.” Koran ESSAY V Love Every promise of the soul has innumerable fulfilments; each ofnt. Nature, uncontainable, flowing, forelooking, in the first sentiment of kindness anticipates already a benevolence which shall lose all particular regards in…

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Friendship

Essays: First Series Friendship A ruddy drop of manly blood The surging sea outweighs, The world uncertain comes and goes, The lover rooted stays. I fancied he was fled, And, after many a year, Glowed unexhausted kindliness Like daily sunrise there. My careful heart was free again, — O friend,…

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Prudence

Essays: First Series Prudence Theme no poet gladly sung, Fair to old and foul to young, Scorn not thou the love of parts, And the articles of arts. Grandeur of the perfect sphere Thanks the atoms that cohere. ESSAY VII Prudence What right have I to write ont of the…

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Heroism

Essays: First Series Heroism “Paradise is under the shadow of swords.” Mahomet Ruby wine is drunk by knaves, Sugar spends to fatten slaves, Rose and vine-leaf deck buffoons; Thunderclouds are Jove’s festoons, Drooping oft in wreaths of dread Lightning-knotted round his head; The hero is not fed on sweets, Daily…

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The Over-Soul

Essays: First Series The Over-Soul “But souls that of his own good life partake, He loves as his own self; dear as his eye They are to Him: He’ll never them forsake: When they shall die, then God himself shall die: They live, they live in blest eternity.” Henry More…

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Circles

Essays: First Series Circles Nature centres into balls, And her proud ephemerals, Fast to surface and outside, Scan the profile of the sphere; Knew they what that signified, A new genesis were here. ESSAY X _Circles_ The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second;…

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Intellect

Essays: First Series Intellect Go, speed the stars of Thought On to their shining goals; — The sower scatters broad his seed, The wheat thou strew’st be souls. ESSAY XI Intellect Every substance is negatively electric to that which stands above it in the chemical tables, positively to that which…

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Art

Essays: First Series Art Give to barrows, trays, and pansGrace and glimmer of romance;Bring the moonlight into noonHid in gleaming piles of stone;On the city’s paved streetPlant gardens lined with lilac sweet;Let spouting fountains cool the air,Singing in the sun-baked square;Let statue, picture, park, and hall,Ballad, flag, and festival,The past…

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