Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Tact - Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson

What boots it, thy virtue,
What profit thy parts,
While one thing thou lackest,
The art of all arts!
The only credentials,
Passport to success,
Opens castle and parlor,—
Address, man, Address.

The maiden in danger
Was saved by the swain,
His stout arm restored her
To Broadway again:

The maid would reward him,—
Gay company come,—
They laugh, she laughs with them,
He is moonstruck and dumb.

This clenches the bargain,
Sails out of the bay,
Gets the vote in the Senate,
Spite of Webster and Clay;

Has for genius no mercy,
For speeches no heed,—
It lurks in the eyebeam,
It leaps to its deed.

Church, tavern, and market,
Bed and board it will sway;
It has no to-morrow,
It ends with to-day.

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Read poems about / on: success

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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