Sunday Poem: Ralph Waldo Emerson – Give All to Love

Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1803–1882
  
Give All to Love
  
GIVE all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good fame,
Plans, credit, and the Muse—          5
Nothing refuse.
‘Tis a brave master;
Let it have scope:
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope:   10
High and more high
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent;
But it is a god,   15
Knows its own path,
And the outlets of the sky.
It was never for the mean;
It requireth courage stout,
Souls above doubt,   20
Valour unbending:
Such ’twill reward;—
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.   25
Leave all for love;
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behoved,
One pulse more of firm endeavour—
Keep thee to-day,   30
To-morrow, for ever,
Free as an Arab
Of thy beloved.
Cling with life to the maid;
But when the surprise,   35
First vague shadow of surmise,
Flits across her bosom young,
Of a joy apart from thee,
Free be she, fancy-free;
Nor thou detain her vesture’s hem,   40
Nor the palest rose she flung
From her summer diadem.
Though thou loved her as thyself,
As a self of purer clay;
Though her parting dims the day,   45
Stealing grace from all alive;
Heartily know,
When half-gods go
The gods arrive.
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