Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Paper Read Before the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, December 14, 1833, with Afterthoughts

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G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1884 - 31 pages
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Page 19 - Aurelius is not a great writer, a great philosophy-maker ; he is the friend and aider of those who would live in the spirit.
Page 6 - OUR age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?
Page 6 - Nature is but an image or imitation of wisdom, the last thing of the soul; Nature being a thing which doth only do, but not know.
Page 17 - I confess our later generation appears ungirt, frivolous, compared with the religions of the last or Calviiiistic age. There was in the last century a serious habitual reference to the spiritual world, running through diaries, letters and conversation — yes, and into wills and legal instruments also, compared with which our liberation looks a little foppish and dapper. The religion of seventy years...
Page 25 - ... in a manner; or indivisible elements are the origin of all things. — In a word, if there is a god, all is well ; and if chance rules, do not thou also be governed by it.
Page 23 - Antonines senator about fifty years of age, blameless in all the offices of life; and a youth of about seventeen, whose riper years opened the fair prospect of every virtue: the elder of these was declared the son and successor of Hadrian, on condition, however, that he himself should immediately adopt the younger. The two Antonines (for it is of them that we are now speaking) governed the...
Page 16 - ... thought would remain untreated of; for Neo-Platonicism, an aftergrowth of late date and little intrinsic value, was a hybrid product of Greek and Oriental speculation, and its place in history is by the side of Gnosticism. What contact it has with the Greek mind is with that mind in its decadence ; as the little in Plato which is allied to it belongs chiefly to the decadence of Plato's own mind. We are quite reconciled to the exclusion from Mr. Grote's plan of this tedious and unsatisfactory...
Page 16 - ... brings down the history of Greek philosophy only to Plato and his' generation ; but a continuation is promised, embracing at least the generation of Aristotle ; which, by the analogy of the concluding chapters of the present work, may be construed as implying an estimate of the Stoics and Epicureans. If to this were added a summary of what is known to us concerning the Pythagorean revival and the later Academy, no portion of purely Greek thought would remain untreated of; for Neoplatonism, an...
Page 18 - ... force. A rude people were kept respectable by the determination of thought on the eternal world. Now men fall abroad, — want polarity, — suffer in character and intellect. A sleep creeps over the great functions of man. Enthusiasm goes out. In its stead a low prudence seeks to hold society stanch, but its arms are too short, cordage and machinery never supply the place of life.
Page 22 - Roman opinion, he probably did what honour dictated ; and those who prefer honour to life are not so numerous that we can afford to speak of them with scorn. " The fool," says Dr. Mommsen, when the drama of the republic closes with Cato's death—" The fool spoke the Epilogue." Whether Cato was a fool or not, it was not he that spoke the Epilogue. The Epilogue was spoken by Marcus Aurelius, whose principles, political as well as philosophical, were identical with those for which Cato...

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