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[128] Englishmen in his English traits. But the great essays, no doubt, are those like Self-Reliance, compensation, the over-soul, fate, power, culture, worship, and Illusions. These will puzzle no one who has read carefully that first book on Nature. They all preach the gospel of intuition, instinctive trust in the Universe, faith in the ecstatic moment of vision into the things that are unseen by the physical eye. Self-reliance, as Emerson's son has pointed out, means really God-reliance; the Over-Soul — always a stumbling-block to Philistines-means that high spiritual life into which all men may enter and in which they share the life of Deity. Emerson is stern enough in expounding the laws of compensation that run through the universe, but to him the chief law is the law of the ever-ascending, victorious soul.

This radiant optimism permeates his poems. By temperament a singer as well as a seer and sayer, Emerson was nevertheless deficient in the singing voice. He composed no one great poem, his verse presents no ideas that are not found in his prose. In metre and rhyme he is harsh and willful. Yet he has marvelous single phrases and cadences. He ejaculates transports and ecstasies, and though he cannot organize and construct in verse, he is

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Ralph Waldo Emerson (3)
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