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Self-Reliance

by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henceforth, please God, forever I forego
The yoke of men's opinions. I will be
Light-hearted as a bird, and live with God.
I find him in the bottom of my heart,
I hear continually his voice therein.
       *       *       *
The little needle always knows the North,
The little bird remembereth his note,
And this wise Seer within me never errs.
I never taught it what it teaches me;
I only follow, when I act aright.

October 9, 1832.

And when I am entombed in my place,
Be it remembered of a single man,
He never, though he dearly loved his race,
For fear of human eyes swerved from his plan.



Oh what is Heaven but the fellowship
Of minds that each can stand against the world
By its own meek and incorruptible will?



The days pass over me
And I am still the same;
The aroma of my life is gone
With the flower with which it came.

1833.


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