Ralph Waldo Emerson: Xenophanes


By fate, not option, frugal Nature gave One scent to hyson and to wall-flower, One sound to pine-groves and to waterfalls, One aspect to the desert and the lake. It was her stern necessity: all things Are of one pattern made; bird, beast and flower, Song, picture, form, space, thought and character Deceive us, seeming to be many things, And are but one. Beheld far off, they part As God and devil; bring them to the mind, They dull its edge with their monotony. To know one element, explore another, And in the second reappears the first. The specious panorama of a year But multiplies the image of a day,— A belt of mirrors round a taper's flame; And universal Nature, through her vast And crowded whole, an infinite paroquet, Repeats one note.