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Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Merlin II


The rhyme of the poet
Modulates the king's affairs,
Balance-loving nature
Made all things in pairs.
To every foot its antipode,
Each color with its counter glowed,
To every tone beat answering tones,
Higher or graver;
Flavor gladly blends with flavor;
Leaf answers leaf upon the bough,
And match the paired cotyledons.
Hands to hands, and feet to feet,
In one body grooms and brides;
Eldest rite, two married sides
In every mortal meet.
Light's far furnace shines,
Smelting balls and bars,
Forging double stars,
Glittering twins and trines.
The animals are sick with love,
Lovesick with rhyme;
Each with all propitious Time
Into chorus wove.

Like the dancers' ordered band,
Thoughts come also hand in hand,
In equal couples mated,
Or else alternated,
Adding by their mutual gage
One to other health and age.
Solitary fancies go
Short-lived wandering to and fro,
Most like to bachelors,
Or an ungiven maid,
Not ancestors,
With no posterity to make the lie afraid,
Or keep truth undecayed.

Perfect paired as eagle's wings,
Justice is the rhyme of things;
Trade and counting use
The serf-same tuneful muse;
And Nemesis,
Who with even matches odd,
Who athwart space redresses
The partial wrong,
Fills the just period,
And finishes the song.

Subtle rhymes with ruin rife
Murmur in the house of life,
Sung by the Sisters as they spin;
In perfect time and measure, they
Build and unbuild our echoing clay,
As the two twilights of the day
Fold us music-drunken in.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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