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Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803-1882


Theme:  Wine Musings


NOTES:
2nd stanza: Styx is the river, and Erebus the region, one must cross in order to enter Hades.

last stanza: Pleiades and “the eternal men” are constellations.

For a wine poem tribute to Ralph Waldo Emerson see Whitman and Emerson by Marguerite Wilkinson.
- S. H. Bass  


more Ralph Waldo Emerson at
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Bacchus
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American philosopher/poet

Bring me wine, but wine which never grew
In the belly of the grape,
Or grew on vine whose taproots reaching
through
Under the Andes to the Cape,
Suffered no savor of the world to 'scape.

Let its grapes the morn salute
From a nocturnal root
Which feels the acrid juice
Of Styx and Erebus,
By its own craft, to a more rich delight.


We buy ashes for bread,
We buy diluted wine;
Give me of the true,
Whose ample leaves and tendrils curled
Among the silver hills of heaven,
Draw everlasting dew;
Wine of wine,
Blood of the world,
Form of forms and mold of statures,
That I; intoxicated,
And by the draft assimilated,
May float at pleasure through all natures,
The bird-language rightly spell,
And that which roses say so well.

Wine that is shed
Like the torrents of the sun
Up the horizon walls;
Or like the Atlantic streams which run
When the South Sea calls.

Water and bread;
Food which needs no transmuting,
Rainbow-flowering, wisdom-fruiting;
Wine which is already man,
Food which teach and reason can.

Wine which music is;
Music and wine are one;
That I, drinking this,
Shall hear far chaos talk with me,
Kings unborn shall walk with me,
And the poor grass shall plot and plan
What it will do when it is man:
Quickened so, will I unlock
Every crypt of every rock.

I thank the joyful juice
For all I know;
Winds of remembering
Of the ancient being blow,
And seeming-solid walls ot use
Open and flow.

Pour, Bacchus, the remembering wine;
Retrieve the loss of me and mine;
Vine for vine be antidote,
And the grape requite the lot.
Haste to cure the old despair,
Reason in nature's lotus drenched,
The memory of ages quenched; -
Give them again to shine.
Let wine repair what this undid,
And where the infection slid,
And dazzling memory revive.
Refresh the faded tints,
Recut the aged prints,
And write my old adventures, with the pen
Which, on the first day, drew
Upon the tablets blue
The dancing Pleiades, and the eternal men.

from Poems (1904)


RALPH WALDO EMERSON at Amazon:

Emerson's Prose and Poetry (Norton Critical Editions)

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