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Cleon is a slave to grandeur, free as thought am I ; Cleon fees a score of doctors, need of none have I ; Wealth-surrounded, care-environed, Cleon fears!
to die; Death may come, he 'll find me ready, -- happier
man am I.
I want a warm and faithful friend,
To cheer the adverse hour ;
THE TOUCHSTONE. A MAN there came, whence none could tell, Bearing a Touchstone in his hand, and testerl all things in the land
By its unerring spell.
A thousand transformations rose From fair to foul, from foul to fair : The golden crown he did not spare,
Nor scorn the beggar's clothes.
THE HAPPY MAN.
“THE TASK," BOOK VI.
the fruit Of virtue, and whom virtue, fruit of faith, Prepare for happiness ; bespeak him one Content indeed to sojourn while he must Below the skies, but having there his home. The world o'erlooks him in her busy search Of objects, more illustrious in her view ; And, occupied as earnestly as she, Though more sublimely, he o'erlooks the world. She scorns his pleasures, for she knows them
Of heirloom jewels, prized so much, Were many changed to chips and clods ; And even statues of the Gods
Crumbled beneath its touch.
Then angrily the people cried, “ The loss outweighs the profit far; Our goods suffice us as they are :
We will not have them tried."
And, since they could not so avail To check his unrelenting quest, They seized him, saying, “Let him test
How real is our jail !”.
But though they slew him with the sword, And in a fire his Touchstone burned, Its doings could not be o'erturned,
Its undoings restored.
He seeks not hers, for he has proved them vain,
And when, to stop ail future harm, They strewed its ashes on the breeze, They little guessed each grain of these
Conveyed the perfect charm.
I LIKE a church ; I like a cowl ;
ON HIS OWN BLINDNESS.
TO CYRIACK SKINNER. CYRIACK, this three years' day, these eyes, though
clear, To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot : Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,
Or man or woman, yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart or hope ; but still bear up and steer Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask? The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied In Liberty's defence, my noble task, Of which all Europe rings from side to side. This thought might lead me through the world's
vain mask, Content, though blind, had I no better guide.
Not from a vain or shallow thought His awful Jove young Phidias brought ; Never from lips of cunning fell The thrilling Delphic oracle : Out from the heart of nature rolled The burdens of the Bible old ; The litanies of nations came, Like the volcano's tongue of flame, Up from the burning core below,The canticles of love and woe.
FROM "AN ESSAY ON MAN," EPISTLE IV.
The hand that rounded Peter's dome,
O HAPPINESS ! our being's end and aim ! Good, Pleasure, Ease, Content ! whate'er thy
mame : That something still which prompts the eternal
Know'st thou what wove yon woodbird's nest Of leaves, and feathers from her breast ? Or how the fish outbuilt her shell, Painting with morn each annual cell ? Or how the sacred pine-tree adds To her old leaves new myriads ? Such and so grew these holy piles, Whilst love and terror laid the tiles. Earth proudly wears the Parthenon, As the best gem upon her zone ; And Morning opes with haste her lids, To gaze upon the Pyramids ; O'er England's abbeys bends the sky, As on its friends, with kindred eye; For, out of Thought's interior sphere, These wonders rose to upper air ; And Nature gladly gave them place, Adopted them into her race, And granted them an equal date With Andes and with Ararat.
For which we bear to live or dare to die,
our toil, We ought to blame the culture, not the soil : Fixed to no spot is happiness sincere ; 'T is nowhere to be found, or everywhere : 'T is never to be bought, but always free, And, fled from monarchs, St. John ! dwells with
thee. Ask of the learned the way? The learned are
blind; This bids to serve, and that to shun, mankind; Some place the bliss in action, some in ease, Those call it pleasure, and contentment these ; Some, sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain ; Some, swelled to gods, confess even virtue vain ; Or, indolent, to each extreme they fall, To trust in everything, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less Than this, that happiness is happiness?
Take Nature's path, and mad Opinion's leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive; Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell ; There needs but thinking right, and meaning
well; And, mourn our various portions as we please, Equal is common sense and common ease.
These temples grew as grows the grass ; Art might obey, but not surpass. The passive Master lent his hand To the vast Soul that o'er him planned ; And the same power that reared the shrine Bestrode the tribes that knelt within. Ever the fiery Pentecost Girds with one flame the countless host, Trances the heart through chanting choirs, And through the priest the mind inspires. The word unto the prophet spoken Was writ on tables yet unbroken ; The word by seers or sibyls told, In groves of oak, or fanes of gold, Still floats upon the morning wind, Still whispers to the willing mind. One accent of the Holy Ghost The heedless world hath never lost. I know what say the fathers wise, --The Book itself before me lies, — Old Chrysostom, best Augustine, And he who blent both in his line, The younger Golden Lips or mines, Taylor, the Shakespeare of divines. His words are music in my ear, I see his cowlèd portrait dear ; And yet, for all his faith could see, I would not the good bishop be.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON.