in the Old Manse at Concord
, strolling in the quiet fields, lecturing or preaching if he were invited to do so, but chiefly absorbed in a little book which he was beginning to write — a new utterance of a new man.
This book, the now famous Nature
of 1836, contains the essence of Emerson
's message to his generation.
It is a prose essay, but written in the ecstatic mood of a poet.
The theme of its meditation is the soul as related to Nature and to God.
The soul is primal; Nature, in all its bountiful and beautiful commodities, exists for the training of the soul; it is the soul's shadow.
And every soul has immediate access to Deity.
Thus the utility and beauty and discipline of Nature lift the soul Godward
The typical sentence of the book is this: “The sun shines today also” ; that is to say: the world is still alive and fair; let us lift up our hearts!
Only a few Americans
of 1836 bought this singular volume, but Emerson
went serenely forward.
He had found his path.
In 1837 he delivered the well-known Phi Beta Kappa oration at Harvard
on The American scholar
was now thirty-four; he had married a second time, had bought a house of his own in Concord
, and purposed to make a living by