Ralph Waldo Emerson: Give All to Love

Give All to Love

Give all to love; Obey thy heart; Friends, kindred, days, Estate, good-fame, Plans, credit and the Muse,— Nothing refuse.  'T is a brave master; Let it have scope: Follow it utterly, Hope beyond hope: High and more high It dives into noon, With wing unspent, Untold intent; But it is a god, Knows its own path And the outlets of the sky.  It was never for the mean; It requireth courage stout. Souls above doubt, Valor unbending, It will reward,— They shall return More than they were, And ever ascending.  Leave all for love; Yet, hear me, yet, One word more thy heart behoved, One pulse more of firm endeavor,— Keep thee to-day, To-morrow, forever, Free as an Arab Of thy beloved.  Cling with life to the maid; But when the surprise, First vague shadow of surmise Flits across her bosom young, Of a joy apart from thee, Free be she, fancy-free; Nor thou detain her vesture's hem, Nor the palest rose she flung From her summer diadem.  Though thou loved her as thyself, As a self of purer clay, Though her parting dims the day, Stealing grace from all alive; Heartily know, When half-gods go. The gods arrive.