Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882
Essayist, lecturer, poet
Through his acclaimed essays and lectures renowned American essayist, lecturer and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson let the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. His champion of freedom and individualism was most often reflected in his perceptions of mankind’s ability to extend their imaginations to the realization of nearly anything.
Emerson’s expressions of philosophy were groundbreaking and his work titled “Nature” exemplified his profound depth of thinking. In 1837 Emerson gave a speech titled “The American Scholar” which Oliver Wendell Holmes considered to be America’s “Intellectual Declaration of Independence”. Emerson was often a critic of the countervailing pressures of society.
Deep in the man sits fast his fate
To mould his fortunes, mean or great:
Unknown to Cromwell as to me
Was Cromwell’s measure or degree;
Unknown to him as to his horse,
If he than his groom be better or worse.
He works, plots, fights, in rude affairs,
With squires, lords, kings, his craft compares,
Till late he learned, through doubt and fear,
Broad England harbored not his peer:
Obeying time, the last to own
The Genius from its cloudy throne.
For the prevision is allied
Unto the thing so signified;
Or say, the foresight that awaits
Is the same Genius that creates.
Ralph Waldo Emerson