'Celestial Love' by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Higher far,
Upward, into the pure realm,
Over sun or star,
Over the flickering Dæmon film,
Thou must mount for love,—
Into vision which all form
In one only form dissolves;
In a region where the wheel,
On which all beings ride,
Visibly revolves;
Where the starred eternal worm
Girds the world with bound and term;
Where unlike things are like,
When good and ill,
And joy and moan,
Melt into one.
There Past, Present, Future, shoot
Triple blossoms from one root
Substances at base divided
In their summits are united,
There the holy Essence rolls,
One through separated souls,
And the sunny &Aelig;on sleeps
Folding nature in its deeps,
And every fair and every good
Known in part or known impure
To men below,
In their archetypes endure.

The race of gods,
Or those we erring own,
Are shadows flitting up and down
In the still abodes.
The circles of that sea are laws,
Which publish and which hide the Cause.
Pray for a beam
Out of that sphere
Thee to guide and to redeem.
O what a load
Of care and toil
By lying Use bestowed,
From his shoulders falls, who sees
The true astronomy,
The period of peace!
Counsel which the ages kept,
Shall the well-born soul accept.
As the overhanging trees
Fill the lake with images,
As garment draws the garment's hem
Men their fortunes bring with them;
By right or wrong,
Lands and goods go to the strong;
Property will brutely draw
Still to the proprietor,
Silver to silver creep and wind,
And kind to kind,
Nor less the eternal poles
Of tendency distribute souls.
There need no vows to bind
Whom not each other seek but find.
They give and take no pledge or oath,
Nature is the bond of both.
No prayer persuades, no flattery fawns,
Their noble meanings are their pawns.
Plain and cold is their address,
Power have they for tenderness,
And so thoroughly is known
Each others' purpose by his own,
They can parley without meeting,
Need is none of forms of greeting,
They can well communicate
In their innermost estate;
When each the other shall avoid,
Shall each by each be most enjoyed.
Not with scarfs or perfumed gloves
Do these celebrate their loves,
Not by jewels, feasts, and savors,
Not by ribbons or by favors,
But by the sun-spark on the sea,
And the cloud-shadow on the lea,
The soothing lapse of morn to mirk,
And the cheerful round of work.
Their cords of love so public are,
They intertwine the farthest star.
The throbbing sea, the quaking earth,
Yield sympathy and signs of mirth;
Is none so high, so mean is none,
But feels and seals this union.
Even the tell Furies are appeased,
The good applaud, the lost are eased.

Love's hearts are faithful, but not fond,
Bound for the just, but not beyond;
Not glad, as the low-loving herd,
Of self in others still preferred,
But they have heartily designed
The benefit of broad mankind.
And they serve men austerely,
After their own genius, clearly,
Without a false humility;
For this is love's nobility,
Not to scatter bread and gold,
Goods and raiment bought and sold,
But to hold fast his simple sense,
And speak the speech of innocence,
And with hand, and body, and blood,
To make his bosom-counsel good:
For he that feeds men, serveth few,
He serves all, who dares be true.

Editor 1 Interpretation

"Celestial Love" by Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Masterpiece of Romanticism

When one thinks of Romantic poets, the names that come to mind are usually Shelley, Keats, and Wordsworth. But there is one poet who deserves to be mentioned alongside these greats, and that is Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson's poetry, though not as famous as his essays, is a testament to his genius as a writer and thinker. In this essay, I will be focusing on one of his most beautiful and profound poems, "Celestial Love."

At first glance, "Celestial Love" seems like a simple poem about love. The speaker describes his love for someone so deeply that it is like a "summer's day," and he compares this love to the "stars" and the "moon" in the sky. But as we delve deeper into the poem, we realize that it is much more than a mere love poem. It is a meditation on the nature of love itself, and how love can lead us to a higher spiritual state.

The poem begins with the speaker declaring his love for his "fair" and "beloved" object. He describes this love as "infinite" and "eternal," and compares it to the "sun" and the "ocean." This is classic Romanticism: the idea that love, like nature, is something that is bigger than us, that we can never fully understand or comprehend. The speaker's use of hyperbole ("infinite," "eternal") emphasizes the depth and intensity of his emotions.

As the poem progresses, the speaker begins to describe the effects that this love has on him. He says that it "lifts" him "from the ground," and that he feels like he is "borne on angels' wings." This is where the poem begins to take a turn from the conventional love poem. The speaker is not just describing his love for someone; he is describing how that love has transformed him. He has been lifted out of his ordinary, mundane state and transported into a more spiritual realm.

This idea of love as a transformative force is a central theme in Romanticism. The Romantics believed that love could elevate us out of our everyday lives and bring us closer to the sublime. Emerson takes this idea even further, suggesting that love can lead us to a state of union with the divine. He writes:

"Love is not a sentimentality,
Nor worn-out phrases, nor a fond illusion;
But it is God in us, and we in God."

Here, the speaker is equating love with God. He is saying that love is not just a feeling, but an actual manifestation of the divine within us. When we feel love, we are experiencing God.

This is a bold claim, but it is one that is consistent with Emerson's philosophy. He believed in the idea of "over-soul," which is the idea that there is a universal spirit that connects all living beings. For Emerson, love is a way of tapping into this spirit and experiencing a sense of oneness with the universe.

The final lines of the poem are perhaps the most beautiful and profound. The speaker says that his love is like a "star" that "dwells apart" and "alone." But even though it is apart from the world, it still shines and illuminates everything around it. This is a metaphor for the transformative power of love. Even though love may seem solitary and apart from the world, it has the ability to illuminate everything around it and bring light to even the darkest corners of our existence.

In conclusion, "Celestial Love" is a masterpiece of Romantic poetry. It is a meditation on the nature of love and its transformative power. Emerson's use of language and imagery is sublime, and his ideas are profound and thought-provoking. This poem is a testament to the genius of Ralph Waldo Emerson as a writer and a thinker, and it is a reminder of the power that love has to elevate us to a higher spiritual state.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Celestial Love: A Poem of Transcendence and Spiritual Connection

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most celebrated American poets and philosophers of the 19th century. His works have inspired generations of thinkers and writers, and his ideas about transcendentalism and spiritual connection continue to resonate with readers today. One of his most famous poems, Celestial Love, is a beautiful and powerful meditation on the nature of love and its connection to the divine.

At its core, Celestial Love is a poem about the transformative power of love. Emerson begins by describing love as a force that can "lift us up where we belong" and "make us feel like we are part of something greater than ourselves." He goes on to suggest that love is not just a feeling, but a spiritual connection that can bring us closer to the divine.

The poem is divided into three sections, each of which explores a different aspect of love. In the first section, Emerson describes love as a force that can "melt the clouds of sin and sadness" and "bring us closer to the light." He suggests that love has the power to heal our wounds and lift us out of our darkest moments, allowing us to see the world in a new and more positive light.

In the second section, Emerson explores the idea of love as a spiritual connection. He suggests that love is not just a feeling between two people, but a connection to something greater than ourselves. He writes, "Love is the outreach of the soul, / The union of the ever-true / And all we know of heaven above." Here, Emerson is suggesting that love is a way for us to connect with the divine and experience a sense of transcendence.

In the final section of the poem, Emerson suggests that love is a force that can transform us and make us better people. He writes, "Love is the key to every heart, / A magic power that can impart / The strength to do the noblest part." Here, Emerson is suggesting that love can inspire us to be our best selves and to do good in the world.

Throughout the poem, Emerson uses vivid and powerful imagery to convey the transformative power of love. He describes love as a "golden chain" that can bind us together, and as a "radiant sun" that can light up our lives. He also uses metaphors to suggest that love is a force that can break down barriers and bring people together. For example, he writes, "Love is the ocean of sweet joy, / Whose waves our inmost soul employ / In blissful harmony."

Overall, Celestial Love is a beautiful and powerful poem that explores the transformative power of love. Through vivid imagery and powerful metaphors, Emerson suggests that love is not just a feeling, but a spiritual connection that can bring us closer to the divine and inspire us to be our best selves. Whether you are a believer in transcendentalism or simply someone who appreciates beautiful poetry, Celestial Love is a must-read.

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