Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

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Give All To Love


Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good-fame,
Plans, credit, and the Muse,-
Nothing refuse.
'Tis 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 not 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 today,
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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Ingeborg Von Finsterwalde (2/26/2013 8:09:00 AM)

    I think poetry should be written so the “average “person can understand the meaning of what you are reading. Or is it just meant for the upper echelons to enjoy? (Report) Reply

  • Adam Reed (2/26/2010 12:29:00 PM)

    i wonder if trying to decipher poems or trying to make yourself seem important makes any of you feel good about yourselves....why u gotta try to make a poem more than it is? just enjoy it (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (2/26/2010 9:32:00 AM)

    There is confusion here between love and the heart. Love is in the heart, but the heart is not love. We can follow our hearts in many ways which do not require love – “good-fame, plans, credit.”

    Emerson makes an extremely important point about love – that each lover should serve the development of the other, even when that development means the end of love. (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (2/26/2010 4:32:00 AM)

    And its All For Love, interesting that no one comments on
    'Free as an Arab
    Of thy beloved.' or analyzes line meanings, ok I won't either. But as it's give all to love, I will leave a token, the start of 'Song Of My Love'
    'As the rains come and the winds blow
    so the days go and the years flow.
    The crash of waves the thundering skies
    so my love goes on that never dies...' (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (2/26/2010 2:53:00 AM)

    Emerson seems to be giving scope to, the broard expansion of the flighty spirit of man.. Looking at fancy free women, as flowers to smell in their bloom. Kind of like walking on cloud 9 through life. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 119 Points Indira Renganathan (2/26/2010 1:39:00 AM)

    True love is consideration and dedication with honest involment....if everything around us is treated with such a kind of love then life will be great...the poem is simple yet excellent with a special touch in the last two lines...best lines are...
    '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; ' (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Ramesh T A (2/26/2010 12:40:00 AM)

    To what kind of love all can be given Emerson gives a clear answer in this simple poem! Be courageous and do all for love as it clears way to sky and allow the fancy of love to go ahead when in happiness are all wonderful ideas of Emerson expressed in this poem to cherish most! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Jess Osborne (2/26/2008 9:31:00 PM)

    This poem, although primarily about love, echoes Emerson's ideals about how one should live one's life. Emerson believed in self-reliance, that one must cast off the chains of the norms of contemporary society and follow one's heart or instinct. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Edith Oram (2/26/2008 4:59:00 AM)

    I love the racy pace of the writing. It mirrors the pace of passionate abandon when you give in to your hearts desire with a tremendous feeling of freedom. The ending speaks of true love, that is when you love someone enough to let them go if need be. Edith Oram (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Linda Corrales (3/31/2007 2:30:00 PM)

    I absolutely love this poem. I read it almost every day. It most wonderful to give all to love. It breaks my heart when I think of how impossible this is at times. Nontheless, I love the poem it reminds me of my own beloved and how because of our cultural differences we simply cannot marry. And as much as we try we can not let go of each other. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Ronald Clark (2/26/2007 8:21:00 PM)

    THis was a wonderful poem. I really like the ending, it was a wonderful poem of love. Congratulations on a well written poem. (Report) Reply

Read all 13 comments »

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