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The Day's Ration Analysis

Author: poem of Ralph Waldo Emerson Type: poem Views: 10

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When I was born,

From all the seas of strength Fate filled a chalice,

Saying, This be thy portion, child; this chalice,

Less than a lily's, thou shalt daily draw

From my great arteries; nor less, nor more.

All substances the cunning chemist Time

Melts down into that liquor of my life,

Friends, foes, joys, fortunes, beauty, and disgust,

And whether I am angry or content,

Indebted or insulted, loved or hurt,

All he distils into sidereal wine,

And brims my little cup; heedless, alas!

Of all he sheds how little it will hold,

How much runs over on the desert sands.

If a new muse draw me with splendid ray,

And I uplift myself into her heaven,

The needs of the first sight absorb my blood,

And all the following hours of the day

Drag a ridiculous age.

To-day, when friends approach, and every hour

Brings book or starbright scroll of genius,

The tiny cup will hold not a bead more,

And all the costly liquor runs to waste,

Nor gives the jealous time one diamond drop

So to be husbanded for poorer days.

Why need I volumes, if one word suffice?

Why need I galleries, when a pupil's draught

After the master's sketch, fills and o'erfills

My apprehension? Why should I roam,

Who cannot circumnavigate the sea

Of thoughts and things at home, but still adjourn

The nearest matters to another moon?

Why see new men

Who have not understood the old?


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