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To-day
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leading American lecturer, poet and essayist. Works include two volumes of essays (1841 and 1844), poems (1847) and numerous individual pieces including the famous essays Nature (1836) showing the natural world with its function to excite the intuition, The American Scholar (1837), Self Reliance (1844) which challenges readers to seek their own truths and the poem Terminus (1866). Emerson was a leading exponent of New England Transcendentalism and Romanticism and a strong influence on Walt Whitman and Emily Dickenson.


To-day
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let kings and conquerors, saints and soldiers sleep--
Late in the world,--too late perchance for fame,
Just late enough to reap abundant blame,--
I choose a novel theme, a bold abuse
Of critic charters, an unlaurelled Muse.

Old mouldy men and books and names and lands
Disgust my reason and defile my hands.
I had as lief respect an ancient shoe,
As love old things for age, and hate the new.
I spurn the Past, my mind disdains its nod,
Nor kneels in homage to so mean a God.
I laugh at those who, while they gape and gaze,
The bald antiquity of China praise.
Youth is (whatever cynic tubs pretend)
The fault that boys and nations soonest mend.


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