Friday, May 25, 2007

Emerson was born on this date ...

... in 1803. He remains one of the greatest influences on my life and thought and feeling. I can still vividly remember the cold, clear February day in 1957 - I was 15 - when I first read "Self-Reliance." It was for me a personal declaration of independence:

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Here's a good Emerson Page.

Gwendolyn and I visited his house some years ago. For me, of course, it was an act of pilgrimage.

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