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Emerson's tribute to George L. Stearns. Delivered in the First Parish Church of Medford on the Sunday following Major Stearns's death, April 9, 1867. We do not know how to prize good men until they depart. High virtue has such an air of nature and necessity that to thank its possessor would be to praise the water for flowing or the fire for warming us. But, on the instant of their death, we wonder at our past insensibility, when we see how impossible it is to replace them. There wi
s name in exceptional honor.
And there is to my mind somewhat so absolute in the action of a good man, that we do not, in thinking of him, so much as make any question of the future.
For the Spirit of the Universe seems to say: He has done well; is not that saying all?
This monograph was printed in the Boston Commonwealth, April 20, 1867, and has never been republished.
It is exceptional in Emerson's writings as the account of a man with whom he was personally and intimately acquainted.
Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches, Leaves from a Roman diary:
(Rewritten in February, 1869 ） (search)
1897 [10 more...]