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Give All To Love

I have been thinking a lot about love and peace this weekend. Love and Peace – they really are the key elements to a happy life aren’t they?

My thoughts on love brought my mind back to a poem I first read at Mount Royal for an American Literature class. In that class I studied many of the great American authors including Thoreau, Emerson, and Mark Twain. In our time in Rhode Island we were lucky enough to go to Sam Clemens’ house in Hartford CT. and also got to Concord to walk around Walden Pond and drive through the town where Thoreau and Emerson lived (among many other great authors – it was an intellectual mecca there).

Here was the first poem I ever loved about love:

Give All to Love

BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good-frame,
Plans, credit and the Muse,—
Nothing refuse.
’T is a brave master;
Let it have scope:
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope:
High and more high
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent:
But it is a god,
Knows its own path
And the outlets of the sky.
It was never for the mean;
It requireth courage stout.
Souls above doubt,
Valor unbending,
It will reward,—
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.
Leave all for love;
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behoved,
One pulse more of firm endeavor,—
Keep thee to-day,
To-morrow, forever,
Free as an Arab
Of thy beloved.
Cling with life to the maid;
But when the surprise,
First vague shadow of surmise
Flits across her bosom young,
Of a joy apart from thee,
Free be she, fancy-free;
Nor thou detain her vesture’s hem,
Nor the palest rose she flung
From her summer diadem.
Though thou loved her as thyself,
As a self of purer clay,
Though her parting dims the day,
Stealing grace from all alive;
Heartily know,
When half-gods go,
The gods arrive.

 

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