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    Ode To Beauty

    by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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    Who gave thee, O Beauty!
    The keys of this breast,
    Too credulous lover
    Of blest and unblest?
    Say when in lapsed ages
    Thee knew I of old;
    Or what was the service
    For which I was sold?
    When first my eyes saw thee,
    I found me thy thrall,
    By magical drawings,
    Sweet tyrant of all!
    I drank at thy fountain
    False waters of thirst;
    Thou intimate stranger,
    Thou latest and first!
    Thy dangerous glances
    Make women of men;
    New-born we are melting
    Into nature again.
    Lavish, lavish promiser,
    Nigh persuading gods to err,
    Guest of million painted forms
    Which in turn thy glory warms,
    The frailest leaf, the mossy bark,
    The acorn's cup, the raindrop's arc,
    The swinging spider's silver line,
    The ruby of the drop of wine,
    The shining pebble of the pond,
    Thou inscribest with a bond
    In thy momentary play
    Would bankrupt Nature to repay.

    Ah! what avails it
    To hide or to shun
    Whom the Infinite One
    Hath granted his throne?
    The heaven high over
    Is the deep's lover,
    The sun and sea
    Informed by thee,
    Before me run,
    And draw me on,
    Yet fly me still,
    As Fate refuses
    To me the heart Fate for me chooses,
    Is it that my opulent soul
    Was mingled from the generous whole,
    Sea valleys and the deep of skies
    Furnished several supplies,
    And the sands whereof I'm made
    Draw me to them self-betrayed?
    I turn the proud portfolios
    Which hold the grand designs
    Of Salvator, of Guercino,
    And Piranesi's lines.
    I hear the lofty Pæans
    Of the masters of the shell,
    Who heard the starry music,
    And recount the numbers well:
    Olympian bards who sung
    Divine Ideas below,
    Which always find us young,
    And always keep us so.
    Oft in streets or humblest places
    I detect far wandered graces,
    Which from Eden wide astray
    In lowly homes have lost their way.

    Thee gliding through the sea of form,
    Like the lightning through the storm,
    Somewhat not to be possessed,
    Somewhat not to be caressed,
    No feet so fleet could ever find,
    No perfect form could ever bind.
    Thou eternal fugitive
    Hovering over all that live,
    Quick and skilful to inspire
    Sweet extravagant desire,
    Starry space and lily bell
    Filling with thy roseate smell,
    Wilt not give the lips to taste
    Of the nectar which thou hast.

    All that's good and great with thee
    Stands in deep conspiracy.
    Thou hast bribed the dark and lonely
    To report thy features only,
    And the cold and purple morning
    Itself with thoughts of thee adorning,
    The leafy dell, the city mart,
    Equal trophies of thine art,
    E'en the flowing azure air
    Thou hast touched for my despair,
    And if I languish into dreams,
    Again I meet the ardent beams.
    Queen of things! I dare not die
    In Being's deeps past ear and eye,
    Lest there I find the same deceiver,
    And be the sport of Fate forever.
    Dread power, but dear! if God thou be,
    Unmake me quite, or give thyself to me.
    If you're writing a Ode To Beauty 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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