BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois


Essays

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Excerpt:

In their own guise,

Like and unlike,

Portly and grim,

Use and Surprise,

Surface and Dream,

Succession swift, and spectral Wrong,

Temperament without a tongue,

And the inventor of the game

Omnipresent without name; —

Some to see, some to he guessed,

They marched from east to west:

Little man, least of all,

Among the legs of his guardians tall,

Walked ahout with puzzled look; —

Ilim hy the hand dear Nature took;

Dearest Nature, strong and kind,

Whispered, 'Barling, never mind!

To-morrow they will wear another face,

The founder thou! these are thy race!'

EXPERIENCE.

Where do we find ourselves? In a scries of which we do not know the extremes, and believe that it has none. We wake and find ourselves on a stair; there are stairs below us which we seem to have ascended; there are stairs above us, many a one, which go upward and out of sight. But the Genius which, according to the old belief, stands at the door by which we enter, and gives us the lethe to drink, that we may tell no tales, mixed the cup too strongly, and we cannot shake off the lethargy now at noonday. Sleep lingers all our lifetime about our eyes, as night hovers all day in the boughs of the fir-tree. All things swim and glitter. Our life is not so much threatened as our perception. Ghostlike we glide through nature, and should not know our place again. Did our birth fall in some fit of indigence and frugality in Nature, that she was so sparing of her fire and so liberal of her earth, that it appears to us that we lack the affirmative principle, and though we have health and reason, yet we have no superfluity of spirit for new creation? We have enough to live and bring the year about, but not an ounce to impart or to invest. Ah, that our Genius were a little more of a genius! We are like millers on the lower levels of a stream, when the factories above them have exhansted the water. We too fancy that the upper people must have raised their dams.

If any of us knew what we were doing, or where we are going, then when we thinkwc best know! We do not know to-day whether we are busy or idle. In times when we thought ourselves indolent, we have afterwards discovered that much was accomplished, and much was begun in us. All our days are so uncomfortable while they pass, that 'tis wonderful where or when we ever got anything of this which we call wisdom, poetry, virtue. Wo never got it on any dated calendar day. Some heavenly days must have been intercalated somewhere, like those that Hermes won with dice of the Moon, that Osiris might be bora. It is said, all martyrdoms looked mean when they were suffered. Every ship is a romantic object, except that we sail in. Embark, and the romance quits our vessel, and hangs on every other sail in the horizon. Our life looks trivial and we shun to record it. Men seem to have learned of the horizon the art of perpetual retreating and reference. 'Yonder uplands are rich pasturage, and my neighbor has fertile meadow, but my field,' says the querulous farmer, 'only holds the world together.' I quote another man's saying; unluckily, that other withdraws himself in the same way, and quotes mo. 'T is the trick of nature thus to degrade to-day; a good deal of buzz, and somewhere a result slipped magically in. Every roof is agreeable to the eye, until it is lifted; then we find tragedy and moaning women, and hard-eyed husbands, and deluges of lethe, and f hc men ask. 'What's the news?' as if the old were so bad. How many individuals can we count in society? how many actions? how many opinions? So much of our time is preparation, so much is routine, and so much retrospect, that the pith of each man's genius cont racts itself to a very few hours. The history of literature — take the net result of Tiraboschi, Warton, or Schlcgel — is a sum of very few ideas, and of very few original tales, — all the rest being variation of these. So, in this great society wide lying around us, a critical analysis would find very few spontaneous actions. It is almost all custom and gross sense. There are even few opinions, and these seem organic in the speakers, and do not disturb the universal necessity.


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