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disappointed of several things; and, on the whole, not likely to continue here much longer than a month; but again to wander, and to spend my summer season differently from what I had expected. One of the things that fall to the ground in consequence is that project of an article on the present aspects of Poetic Literature in France. It returns, alas, to the state of a hope or wish ; and cannot, I fear, become a fact, for the present l You must pardon me for having troubled you with it. My excuse is that of Melbourne on the Corn Laws; that of many men in the like circumstance; ‘sons of Time,’ and subjects more or less of chance which Time brings |
If I ever do write the article, if it do not die in the mere condition of a wish, as so much does with us, I will offer it to you; and have you and your terms and capabilities in view while writing it.
“With many thanks for the past, many wishes for the future,
PREFACE To EMERSON's ESSAYS – CORREspondence WITH DR. CHALMERS, CHARLES DICKENS, AND OTHERS.
EMERSON's pilgrimage to Craigenputtoch in the summer of 1833 will not have been forgotten by the reader; nor his friendly introduction of Sartor Resartus to the American public two or three years later. In 1841 an occasion happened for a graceful return of these courtesies on the part of Carlyle. In the interval of years which had elapsed, Emerson had become a man of mark and note in his own country, respecting C - whose utterances, too, some curiosity arlyle's Pre- - foomer was gradually beginning to awaken **** here in England. Possibly by Car. lyle's suggestion, certainly with his concurrence, the “teacher of starry wisdom high serene” (as John Sterling apostrophised him in the Dedica
tion to Strafford) was to be presented before an
* Essays. By R. W. Emerson, London: James Fraser, 1841, of Concord, Massachusetts. With pp. xiii. 137. Preface by Thomas Carlyle.
predicted, what some years ago it could not be, that a certain number of human creatures will be found extant in England to whom the words of a man, speaking from the heart of him, in what fashion soever, under what obstructions soever, will be welcome;—welcome, perhaps, as a brother's voice, to “wanderers in the labyrinthic Night !' For these, and not for any other class of persons, is this little book reprinted and recommended. Let such read, and try; ascertain for themselves, whether this is a kind of articulate human voice, speaking words, or only another of the thousand thousand ventriloquisms, mimetic echoes, hysteric shrieks, hollow laughters, and mere inarticulate mechanical babblements, the soul-confusing din of which already fills all places 2 I will not anticipate their verdict; but I reckon it safe enough, and even a kind of duty in these circumstances, to invite them to try. “The name of Ralph Waldo Emerson is not entirely new in England: distinguished travellers bring us tidings of such a man; fractions of his writings have found their way into the hands of the curious here ; fitful hints that there is, in New England, some spiritual notability called Emerson, glide through Reviews and Magazines. Whether these hints were true or not true,
readers are now to judge for themselves a little better. “Emerson's writings and speakings amount to something:—and yet hitherto, as seems to me, this Emerson is perhaps far less notable for what he has spoken or done, than for the many things he has not spoken and has forborne to do. With uncommon interest I have learned that this, and in such a never-resting locomotive country too, is one of those rare men who have withal the invaluable talent of sitting still ! That an educated man of good gifts and opportunities, after looking at the public arena, and even trying, not with ill success, what its tasks and its prizes might amount to, should retire for long years into rustic obscurity; and, amid the all-pervading jingle of dollars and loud chaffering of ambitions and promotions, should quietly, with cheerful deliberateness, sit down to spend his life not in Mammon-worship, or the hunt for reputation, influence, place, or any outward advantage whatsoever: this, when we get notice of it, is a thing really worth noting. As Paul Louis Courrier said: ‘Ce qui me distingue de tous mes contemporains
c'est que je n'ai pas la prétention d'être roi,” “All my
contemporaries;’—poor contemporariesl It is as if the man said: Yes, ye contemporaries, be it known to you, or let it remain unknown, There