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    Dæmonic Love

    by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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    Man was made of social earth,
    Child and brother from his birth;
    Tethered by a liquid cord
    Of blood through veins of kindred poured,
    Next his heart the fireside band
    Of mother, father, sister, stand;
    Names from awful childhood heard,
    Throbs of a wild religion stirred,
    Their good was heaven, their harm was vice,
    Till Beauty came to snap all ties,
    The maid, abolishing the past,
    With lotus-wine obliterates
    Dear memory's stone-incarved traits,
    And by herself supplants alone
    Friends year by year more inly known.
    When her calm eyes opened bright,
    All were foreign in their light.
    It was ever the self-same tale,
    The old experience will not fail,—
    Only two in the garden walked,
    And with snake and seraph talked.

    But God said;
    I will have a purer gift,
    There is smoke in the flame;
    New flowerets bring, new prayers uplift,
    And love without a name.
    Fond children, ye desire
    To please each other well;
    Another round, a higher,
    Ye shall climb on the heavenly stair,
    And selfish preference forbear;
    And in right deserving,
    And without a swerving
    Each from your proper state,
    Weave roses for your mate.

    Deep, deep are loving eyes,
    Flowed with naphtha fiery sweet,
    And the point is Paradise
    Where their glances meet:
    Their reach shall yet be more profound,
    And a vision without bound:
    The axis of those eyes sun-clear
    Be the axis of the sphere;
    Then shall the lights ye pour amain
    Go without check or intervals,
    Through from the empyrean walls,
    Unto the same again.

    Close, close to men,
    Like undulating layer of air,
    Right above their heads,
    The potent plain of Dæmons spreads.
    Stands to each human soul its own,
    For watch, and ward, and furtherance
    In the snares of nature's dance;
    And the lustre and the grace
    Which fascinate each human heart,
    Beaming from another part,
    Translucent through the mortal covers,
    Is the Dæmon's form and face.
    To and fro the Genius hies,
    A gleam which plays and hovers
    Over the maiden's head,
    And dips sometimes as low as to her eyes.

    Unknown, — albeit lying near, —
    To men the path to the Dæmon sphere,
    And they that swiftly come and go,
    Leave no track on the heavenly snow.
    Sometimes the airy synod bends,
    And the mighty choir descends,
    And the brains of men thenceforth,
    In crowded and in still resorts,
    Teem with unwonted thoughts.
    As when a shower of meteors
    Cross the orbit of the earth,
    And, lit by fringent air,
    Blaze near and far.
    Mortals deem the planets bright
    Have slipped their sacred bars,
    And the lone seaman all the night
    Sails astonished amid stars.

    Beauty of a richer vein,
    Graces of a subtler strain,
    Unto men these moon-men lend,
    And our shrinking sky extend.
    So is man's narrow path
    By strength and terror skirted,
    Also (from the song the wrath
    Of the Genii be averted!
    The Muse the truth uncolored speaking),
    The Dæmons are self-seeking;
    Their fierce and limitary will
    Draws men to their likeness still.

    The erring painter made Love blind,
    Highest Love who shines on all;
    Him radiant, sharpest-sighted god
    None can bewilder;
    Whose eyes pierce
    The Universe,
    Path-finder, road-builder,
    Mediator, royal giver,
    Rightly-seeing, rightly-seen,
    Of joyful and transparent mien.
    'Tis a sparkle passing
    From each to each, from me to thee,
    Perpetually,
    Sharing all, daring all,
    Levelling, misplacing
    Each obstruction, it unites
    Equals remote, and seeming opposites.
    And ever and forever Love
    Delights to build a road;
    Unheeded Danger near him strides,
    Love laughs, and on a lion rides.
    But Cupid wears another face
    Born into Dæmons less divine,
    His roses bleach apace,
    His nectar smacks of wine.
    The Dæmon ever builds a wall,
    Himself incloses and includes,
    Solitude in solitudes:
    In like sort his love doth fall.
    He is an oligarch,
    He prizes wonder, fame, and mark,
    He loveth crowns,
    He scorneth drones;
    He doth elect
    The beautiful and fortunate,
    And the sons of intellect,
    And the souls of ample fate,
    Who the Future's gates unbar,
    Minions of the Morning Star.
    In his prowess he exults,
    And the multitude insults.
    His impatient looks devour
    Oft the humble and the poor,
    And, seeing his eye glare,
    They drop their few pale flowers
    Gathered with hope to please
    Along the mountain towers,
    Lose courage, and despair.
    He will never be gainsaid,
    Pitiless, will not be stayed.
    His hot tyranny
    Burns up every other tie;
    Therefore comes an hour from Jove
    Which his ruthless will defies,
    And the dogs of Fate unties.
    Shiver the palaces of glass,
    Shrivel the rainbow-colored walls
    Where in bright art each god and sibyl dwelt
    Secure as in the Zodiack's belt;
    And the galleries and halls
    Wherein every Siren sung,
    Like a meteor pass.
    For this fortune wanted root
    In the core of God's abysm,
    Was a weed of self and schism:
    And ever the Dæmonic Love
    Is the ancestor of wars,
    And the parent of remorse.
    If you're writing a Dæmonic Love essay and need some advice, post your Ralph Waldo Emerson essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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