Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman
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   English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
767. Give All to Love
 
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
 
 
GIVE all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good-fame,
Plans, credit and the Muse,—        5
Nothing refuse.
 
’Tis a brave master;
Let it have scope:
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope:        10
High and more high
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent;
But it is a god,        15
Knows its own path
And the outlets of the sky.
 
It was never for the mean;
It requireth courage stout.
Souls above doubt,        20
Valor unbending,
It will reward,—
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.        25
 
Leave all for love;
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behoved,
One pulse more of firm endeavor,—
Keep thee to-day,        30
To-morrow, forever,
Free as an Arab
Of thy beloved.
 
Cling with life to the maid;
But when the surprise,        35
First vague shadow of surmise
Flits across her bosom young,
Of a joy apart from thee,
Free be she, fancy-free;
Nor thou detain her vesture’s hem,        40
Nor the palest rose she flung
From her summer diadem.
 
Though thou loved her as thyself,
As a self of purer clay,
Though her parting dims the day,        45
Stealing grace from all alive;
Heartily know,
When half-gods go,
The gods arrive.
 

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