Ralph Waldo Emerson: To J.W.

To J.W.

Set not thy foot on graves; Hear what wine and roses say; The mountain chase, the summer waves, The crowded town, thy feet may well delay.  Set not thy foot on graves; Nor seek to unwind the shroud Which charitable Time And Nature have allowed To wrap the errors of a sage sublime.  Set not thy foot on graves; Care not to strip the dead Of his sad ornament, His myrrh, and wine, and rings,  His sheet of lead, And trophies buried: Go, get them where he earned them when alive; As resolutely dig or dive.  Life is too short to waste In critic peep or cynic bark, Quarrel or reprimand: 'T will soon be dark; Up! mind thine own aim, and God speed the mark!