'Fate' by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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That you are fair or wise is vain,
Or strong, or rich, or generous;
You must have also the untaught strain
That sheds beauty on the rose.
There is a melody born of melody,
Which melts the world into a sea.
Toil could never compass it,
Art its height could never hit,
It came never out of wit,
But a music music-born
Well may Jove and Juno scorn.
Thy beauty, if it lack the fire
Which drives me mad with sweet desire,
What boots it? what the soldier's mail,
Unless he conquer and prevail?
What all the goods thy pride which lift,
If thou pine for another's gift?
Alas! that one is born in blight,
Victim of perpetual slight;-
When thou lookest in his face,
Thy heart saith, Brother! go thy ways!
None shall ask thee what thou doest,
Or care a rush for what thou knowest,
Or listen when thou repliest,
Or remember where thou liest,
Or how thy supper is sodden,-
And another is born
To make the sun forgotten.
Surely he carries a talisman
Under his tongue;
Broad are his shoulders, and strong,
And his eye is scornful,
Threatening, and young.
I hold it of little matter,
Whether your jewel be of pure water,
A rose diamond or a white,-
But whether it dazzle me with light.
I care not how you are drest,
In the coarsest, or in the best,
Nor whether your name is base or brave,
Nor tor the fashion of your behavior,-
But whether you charm me,
Bid my bread feed, and my fire warm me,
And dress up nature in your favor.
One thing is forever good,
That one thing is success,-
Dear to the Eumenides,
And to all the heavenly brood.
Who bides at home, nor looks abroad,
Carries the eagles, and masters the sword.
Editor 1 Interpretation
"Fate" by Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
If you ever wonder why Ralph Waldo Emerson is considered one of the greatest poets of all time, you only need to read his poem "Fate". This masterpiece is a meditation on the nature of destiny, free will, and the power of the human spirit to transcend both. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, structure, and language of "Fate" to appreciate its beauty and significance.
The Themes of "Fate"
At its core, "Fate" is a poem about the struggle between fate and free will. Emerson presents fate as an unavoidable force that dictates the course of our lives, but at the same time, he celebrates the human will to shape our destiny. The poem also reflects Emerson's belief in the unity of all things, as he sees the individual's fate as part of the larger cosmic order.
Emerson does not view fate as a negative force, but rather as an essential part of the human experience. He acknowledges that we cannot control everything that happens to us, but he also emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility and agency. In this sense, "Fate" can be seen as a call to action, encouraging readers to embrace their own power and create their own destiny.
The Structure of "Fate"
"Fate" is a short but powerful poem composed of four stanzas, each with four lines. The poem follows a consistent rhyme scheme of ABCB, which gives it a musical quality. The repetition of the rhyme scheme creates a sense of stability and order, which contrasts with the poem's themes of fate and free will.
Emerson's use of imagery is also noteworthy. He employs vivid metaphors to describe fate, such as "blind Samson" and "wheeling stranger". These images evoke a sense of inevitability and powerlessness, yet they also convey a sense of mystery and wonder.
The Language of "Fate"
Emerson's language in "Fate" is simple yet profound. He uses plain words to express complex ideas, allowing readers of all backgrounds to understand and appreciate his message. The poem is also rich in symbolism, with images such as the "crooked crutch" and the "crimson canopy" hinting at deeper meanings.
One of the most striking aspects of "Fate" is its use of paradox. Emerson suggests that fate is both "fierce and sweet" and that it is both a "tyrant" and a "friend". These paradoxical statements underscore the complexity of the human experience and the contradictions inherent in our understanding of fate and free will.
An Interpretation of "Fate"
To truly appreciate "Fate", we must interpret its meaning in the context of Emerson's wider philosophy. Emerson believed in the interconnectedness of all things and the importance of individualism. He saw the human spirit as a force that could transcend the limitations of fate and shape the world according to our own vision.
In "Fate", Emerson urges us to embrace our own power and to take responsibility for our lives. He reminds us that while fate may be powerful, it is ultimately only a part of the larger cosmic order, and that we have the ability to shape our own destiny. The poem is a call to action, urging us to take control of our lives and to create a world that reflects our own values and vision.
In conclusion, "Fate" is a masterpiece of poetry that explores some of the most fundamental questions of human existence. Through its themes of fate and free will, its structure, and its language, the poem offers a profound meditation on the nature of destiny and the power of the human spirit. Emerson's message is one of hope and empowerment, reminding us that we have the ability to shape our own lives and to create a world that reflects our own values and vision. If you have not yet read "Fate", I urge you to do so, for it is a poem that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Fate: An Analysis of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Classic
Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Poetry Fate" is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a beautiful and thought-provoking piece that explores the relationship between poetry and fate. In this 2000-word analysis, we will delve into the poem's meaning, structure, and literary devices to understand why it has become a timeless masterpiece.
The poem begins with the line, "That you are fair or wise is vain." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it suggests that beauty and intelligence are not enough to escape fate. The speaker goes on to say that "all beauty and all wit / Are vain against the name of it." The "it" in this line refers to fate, which is portrayed as an all-powerful force that cannot be overcome by human qualities.
The second stanza of the poem continues this theme, as the speaker describes how fate is "the tyrant of the earth." This line suggests that fate is not only all-powerful but also oppressive, as it controls everything on the earth. The speaker goes on to say that "we pay for shade and fruits of trees, / And what is else not bought with ease." This line suggests that even the simple pleasures of life, such as shade and fruit, come at a cost and are ultimately controlled by fate.
The third stanza of the poem introduces the idea of poetry as a way to escape fate. The speaker says that "the poet in a golden clime / Was born with but a half-way heart." This line suggests that poets are born with a special gift that allows them to see beyond the limitations of fate. The speaker goes on to say that "they look behind at every stride, / For fear the future will not match the past." This line suggests that poets are always looking back at their past successes, fearing that they will not be able to replicate them in the future.
The fourth stanza of the poem continues this theme, as the speaker describes how poets are able to create beauty in the face of fate. The speaker says that "they cannot wholly lose the light, / Nor wholly keep it shining still." This line suggests that poets are able to create beauty, but they cannot control it completely. The speaker goes on to say that "they cannot wholly quench the fire, / Nor wholly fan it to a flame." This line suggests that poets are able to create passion, but they cannot control it completely.
The fifth stanza of the poem introduces the idea of death as a way to escape fate. The speaker says that "the soul, through all her being, takes / The death-hour for her own." This line suggests that death is a way for the soul to escape the limitations of fate. The speaker goes on to say that "and still, the human heart will break, / But with a fleeting pang alone." This line suggests that even though death is a way to escape fate, it still causes pain.
The sixth and final stanza of the poem brings all of these ideas together. The speaker says that "the fate of the poet and the sage, / With keen vibrations through his frame, / Shot like a pulse from heart to limb." This line suggests that the fate of the poet and the sage is felt throughout their entire being. The speaker goes on to say that "the warning runs along the page, / And shakes the haunts of thought and dream." This line suggests that the warning of fate is present in all aspects of life, including thought and dreams.
The structure of the poem is also worth noting. It is written in six stanzas, each with four lines. The rhyme scheme is ABAB, which gives the poem a sense of order and structure. The use of enjambment, where a sentence or phrase continues onto the next line, also gives the poem a sense of flow and movement.
Emerson also uses several literary devices in the poem to enhance its meaning. One of these devices is personification, where he gives human qualities to non-human things. For example, fate is portrayed as a tyrant and a force that controls everything on earth. This personification gives the poem a sense of drama and intensity.
Another literary device used in the poem is metaphor, where one thing is compared to another. For example, the poet is compared to a golden clime, which suggests that poets have a special gift that sets them apart from others. This metaphor gives the poem a sense of beauty and wonder.
In conclusion, "Poetry Fate" is a classic poem that explores the relationship between poetry and fate. It suggests that fate is an all-powerful force that cannot be overcome by human qualities, but that poets have a special gift that allows them to see beyond the limitations of fate. The poem is structured in six stanzas with a rhyme scheme of ABAB, and it uses literary devices such as personification and metaphor to enhance its meaning. Overall, "Poetry Fate" is a beautiful and thought-provoking piece that has stood the test of time.
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