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154 Cards in this Set

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“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. To a man laboring under calamity, the heat of his own fire hath sadness in it. Then, there is a kind of contempt of the landscape felt by him who has just lost by death a dear friend. The sky is less grand as it shuts down over less worth in the population.”
Emerson, Nature

appearance of a perfect friend signals inevitable loss
“One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!”
Emerson, Nature
“Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. Almost I fear to think how glad I am”
Emerson, Nature
“I have no hostility to nature, but a child’s love to it. I expand and live in the warm day like corn and melons”
Emerson, Nature
To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature”
Emerson, Nature

A Drama of Seeing
“In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, --no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair”
Emerson, Nature

A Drama of Seeing
“The eye is the best of artists”
Emerson, Nature

A Drama of Seeing
“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again”
Emerson, Nature

A Drama of Seeing
“A life in harmony with nature, the love of truth and of virtue, will purge the eyes to understand her text”
Emerson, Nature

A Drama of Seeing
“The visible creation is the terminus or the circumference of the invisible world”
Emerson, Nature

A Drama of Seeing
“The visible creation is the terminus or the circumference of the invisible world”
Emerson, Nature

A Drama of Seeing
“To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted.”
Emerson, Nature

A Drama of Seeing
“Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?
Emerson, Nature

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Need for A Post-Puritan Theology
“man is disunited with himself. He cannot be a naturalist, until he satisfies all the demands of the spirit”
Emerson, Nature

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Contemporary Malaise
“At present, man applies to nature but half his force. He works on the world with his understanding alone”
Emerson, Nature

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Imagination (aka Reason) Absent
“We are as much strangers in nature, as we are aliens from God. We do not understand the notes of birds. The fox and the deer run away from us; the bear and tiger rend us”
Emerson, Nature

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Strangers in Nature / Aliens from God
“[A]ll the uses of nature admit of being summed in one…. Through all its kingdoms, to the suburbs and outskirts of things, it is faithful to the cause whence it had its origin. It always speaks of Spirit.”
Emerson, Nature

The Underlying Purpose of Nature Summarized
“Let us interrogate the great apparition, that shines so peacefully around us”
Emerson, Nature
“[A]ll the uses of nature admit of being summed in one…. It always speaks of Spirit. It suggests the absolute. It is a perpetual effect. It is a great shadow pointing always to the sun behind us.”
Emerson, Nature
“The noblest ministry of nature is to stand as the apparition of God. It is the organ through which the universal spirit speaks to the individual, and strives to lead back the individual to it”
Emerson, Nature
“Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul”
Emerson, Nature
“[I]n fortunate hours…the universe becomes transparent, and the light of higher laws than its own, shines through it”
Emerson, Nature
“Standing on bare ground, --my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space--all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all. The cur-rents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”
Emerson, Nature
“The ruin or the blank that we see when we look at nature, is in our own eye. The axis of vision is not coincident with the axis of things, and so they appear not transparent but opake”
Emerson, Nature
“In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith.”
Emerson, Nature
“Nature is thoroughly mediate. It is made to serve. It receives the dominion of man as meekly as the ass on which the Savior rode”
Emerson, Nature
“The misery of man appears like childish petulance, when we explore the steady and prodigal provision that has been made for his support and delight on this green ball which floats him through the heavens…. Beasts, fire, water, stones, and corn serve him. The field is at once his floor, his work-yard, his play-ground, his garden, and his bed”
Emerson, Nature
“Nature is so pervaded with human life, that there is something of humanity in all, and in every particular”
Emerson, Nature
“Know then, that the world exists for you…. All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do…. [Y]our dominion is as great as theirs, though without fine names. Build, therefore, your own world”
Emerson, Nature
“So shall we come to look at the world with new eyes….
Then shall come to pass what my poet said: ….’The kingdom of man over nature, which cometh not with observation, --a dominion such as now is beyond his dream of God, --he shall enter without more wonder than the blind man feels who is gradually restored to perfect sight’”
Emerson, Nature
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”
Thoreau
“I should not obtrude my affairs so much on the notice of my readers if very particular inquiries had not been made by my townsmen concerning my mode of life, which some would call impertinent”
Thoreau
 
“I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well”
Thoreau
 
“I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men’s lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me”
Thoreau
“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor”
Thoreau
“I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick, too; to stand at the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line”
Thoreau
“I would fain say something . . . [to] you who read these pages . . . something about your condition or circumstances in this world, in this town, what it is, whether it is necessary to be as bad as it is, whether it can not be improved as well as not”
Thoreau
“I have travelled a good deal in Concord; and every where, in shops, in offices, in fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways”
Thoreau
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”
Thoreau
“No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof”
Thoreau
“I have lived some thirty years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable . . . advice from my seniors. They have told me nothing, and probably cannot tell me anything, to the purpose”
Thoreau
“Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me. Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep. . . . I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?”
Thoreau
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it”
Thoreau
“Every New Englander might easily raise all his own breadstuffs in this land of rye and Indian corn, and not depend on distant and fluctuating markets for them”
Thoreau
“Some are ‘industrious,” and appear to love labor for its own sake, or perhaps because it keeps them out of worse mischief; to such I have at present nothing to say”
Thoreau
“Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? . . . Many say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches to-day to save nine to-morrow. As for work, we haven’t any of any consequence”
Thoreau
There is a certain class of unbelievers who sometimes ask me such questions as, if I think I could live on vegetable food alone; and to strike at the root of the matter at once—for the root is faith—I am accustomed to answer such, that I can live on board nails. If they cannot understand that, they cannot understand much that I have to say”
Thoreau
“I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely”
Thoreau
“The man who goes alone can start today”
Thoreau
“strong and beautiful bug” hatched out of an old dry apple-tree table. “Who knows what a beautiful and winged life … may unexpectedly come forth from amidst society’s most trivial and handselled furniture, to enjoy its perfect summer life at last!”
Thoreau, walden
“[S]uch is the character of that morrow which mere lapse of time can never make to dawn. The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”
thoreau, walden
Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change.
Alfred Tennyson, Locksley Hall
If these brief lays, of Sorrow born, Were taken to be such as closed Grave doubts and answers here proposed, Then these were such as men might scorn.
Her care is not to part and prove; She takes, when harsher moods remit, What slender shade of doubt may flit, And makes it vassal unto love….
Nor dare she trust a larger lay, But rather loosens from the lip Short swallow-flights of song, that dip Their wings in tears, and skim away.
Alfred Tennyson, in memorium
O Sorrow, wilt thou live with me No casual mistress, but a wife, My bosom friend and half of life: As I confess it needs must be?
O Sorrow, wilt thou rule my blood, Be sometimes lovely like a bride, And put thy harsher moods aside, If thou wilt have me wise and good?
Alfred Tennyson, in memorium
Tears of the widower, when he sees A late-lost form that sleep reveals, And moves his doubtful arms, and feels Her place is empty, fall like these;
Which weep a loss for ever new, A void where heart on heart reposed; And, where warm hands have prest and closed, Silence, till I be silent too.
Alfred Tennyson, in memorium
My Arthur, whom I shall not see Till all my widowed race be run; Dear as the mother to the son, More than my brothers are to me.
Alfred Tennyson, in memorium
The truth came born with bier and pall, I felt it, when I sorrow’d most, ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all--
Alfred Tennyson, in memorium
O somewhere, meek, the unconscious dove, That sittest ranging golden hair; And glad to find thyself so fair, Poor child, that waitest for thy love!
For now her father’s chimney glows In expectation of a guest; And thinking, “this will please him best,” She takes a riband or a rose….
O what to her shall be the end? And what to me remains of good? To her, perpetual maidenhood, And unto me no second friend.
Alfred Tennyson, in memorium
Nature, red in tooth and claw
Alfred Tennyson, in memorium
Victorian Self
Particular (Tennyson)
Dependent
Contingent
Fragile
Doubting
Personal Crisis
Are God and Nature then at strife, That Nature lends such evil dreams? So careful of the type she seems, So careless of the single life
That I, considering everywhere Her secret meaning in her deeds, And finding that of fifty seeds She often brings but one to bear,
I falter where I firmly trod….
Tennyson, In Memorium
O, yet we trust that somehow good Will be the final goal of ill, To pangs of nature, sins of will, Defects of doubt, and taints of blood….

So runs my dream; but what am I? An infant crying in the night; An infant crying for the light, And with no language but a cry
Tennyson, In Memorium
“Strange friend, past, present, and to be…/ Behold, I dream a dream of good,/ And mingle all the world with thee”
Tennyson, In Memorium

dream signifies weak hope
“So careful of the type? But no, From scarped cliff and quarried stone She cries, “A thousand types are gone; I care for nothing, all shall go.
Thou makest thine appeal to me: I bring to life, I bring to death; The spirit does but mean the breath: I know no more”….
No more? A monster then, a dream, A discord. Dragons of the prime, That tare each other in their slime, Were mellow music matched with him
Tennyson, In Memorium
I sometimes hold it half a sin To put in words the grief I feel: For words, like Nature, half reveal And half conceal the Soul within.
But, for the unquiet heart and brain, A use in measured language lies; A sad mechanic exercise, Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.
In words, like weeds, I’ll wrap me o’er, Like coarsest clothes against the cold; But that large grief which these enfold Is given in outline and no more.
Tennyson, In Memorium
Dark house, by which once more I stand Here in the long unlovely street, Doors, where my heart was used to beat So quickly, waiting for a hand,
A hand that can be clasped no more– Behold me, for I cannot sleep, And like a guilty thing I creep At earliest morning to the door.
He is not here; but far away The noise of life begins again, And ghastly through the drizzling rain On the bald street breaks the blank day.
Tennyson, In Memorium

#56
A hunger seized my heart; I read Of that glad year which once had been In those fall’n leaves which kept their green, The noble letters of the dead….
So word by word, and line by line, The dead man touch’d me from the past, And all at once it seem’d at last The living soul was flash’d on mine,
And mine in this was wound, and whirl’d About empyreal heights of thought, And came on that which is, and caught The deep pulsations of the world….
At length my trance / Was cancell’d….
Tennyson, In Memorium

#95
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die….
Ring out the grief that saps the mind, For those that here we see no more; Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to all mankind….
Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times; Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Tennyson, In Memorium

#106
I will not shut me from my kind, And, lest I stiffen into stone, I will not eat my heart alone, Nor feed with sighs a passing wind….
I’ll rather take what fruit may be Of sorrow under human skies: ‘Tis held that sorrow makes us wise, Whatever wisdom sleep with thee.
Tennyson, In Memorium

#108
But where is she, the bridal flower, That must be made a wife ere noon? She enters, glowing like the moon Of Eden on its bridal bower….
And rise, O moon, from yonder down, Till over down and over dale All night the shining vapour sail And pass the silent-lighted town….
No longer half-akin to brute, For all we thought and loved and did, And hoped, and suffer’d, is but seed Of what in them* is flower and fruit….
Tennyson, In Memorium

epilogue
Have you practiced so long to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the
meaning of poems?
Whitman, Song of Myself
A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? . . . . I do not know what it is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.

Or I guess it must be the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child . . . . the produced babe of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.
Whitman, Song of Myself
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them;
It may be you are from old people and from women, and from offspring taken soon out of their mothers’ laps,
And here you are the mothers’ laps. [. . . .]

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.

All goes onward and outward . . . and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from any one supposed, and luckier.
Whitman, Song of Myself
“The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, and buzzed whispers . . . loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration . . . the beating of my heart . . . the passing of blood and air through my lungs.”
Whitman, Song of Myself
“Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.
Welcome is every organ and attribute of me.”
Whitman, Song of Myself
Are God and Nature then at strife, That Nature lends such evil dreams? So careful of the type she seems, So careless of the single life
That I, considering everywhere Her secret meaning in her deeds, And finding that of fifty seeds She often brings but one to bear,
I falter where I firmly trod….
Tennyson, In Memorium
O, yet we trust that somehow good Will be the final goal of ill, To pangs of nature, sins of will, Defects of doubt, and taints of blood….

So runs my dream; but what am I? An infant crying in the night; An infant crying for the light, And with no language but a cry
Tennyson, In Memorium
“Strange friend, past, present, and to be…/ Behold, I dream a dream of good,/ And mingle all the world with thee”
Tennyson, In Memorium

dream signifies weak hope
“So careful of the type? But no, From scarped cliff and quarried stone She cries, “A thousand types are gone; I care for nothing, all shall go.
Thou makest thine appeal to me: I bring to life, I bring to death; The spirit does but mean the breath: I know no more”….
No more? A monster then, a dream, A discord. Dragons of the prime, That tare each other in their slime, Were mellow music matched with him
Tennyson, In Memorium
I sometimes hold it half a sin To put in words the grief I feel: For words, like Nature, half reveal And half conceal the Soul within.
But, for the unquiet heart and brain, A use in measured language lies; A sad mechanic exercise, Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.
In words, like weeds, I’ll wrap me o’er, Like coarsest clothes against the cold; But that large grief which these enfold Is given in outline and no more.
Tennyson, In Memorium
Dark house, by which once more I stand Here in the long unlovely street, Doors, where my heart was used to beat So quickly, waiting for a hand,
A hand that can be clasped no more– Behold me, for I cannot sleep, And like a guilty thing I creep At earliest morning to the door.
He is not here; but far away The noise of life begins again, And ghastly through the drizzling rain On the bald street breaks the blank day.
Tennyson, In Memorium

#56
A hunger seized my heart; I read Of that glad year which once had been In those fall’n leaves which kept their green, The noble letters of the dead….
So word by word, and line by line, The dead man touch’d me from the past, And all at once it seem’d at last The living soul was flash’d on mine,
And mine in this was wound, and whirl’d About empyreal heights of thought, And came on that which is, and caught The deep pulsations of the world….
At length my trance / Was cancell’d….
Tennyson, In Memorium

#95
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die….
Ring out the grief that saps the mind, For those that here we see no more; Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to all mankind….
Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times; Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Tennyson, In Memorium

#106
I will not shut me from my kind, And, lest I stiffen into stone, I will not eat my heart alone, Nor feed with sighs a passing wind….
I’ll rather take what fruit may be Of sorrow under human skies: ‘Tis held that sorrow makes us wise, Whatever wisdom sleep with thee.
Tennyson, In Memorium

#108
But where is she, the bridal flower, That must be made a wife ere noon? She enters, glowing like the moon Of Eden on its bridal bower….
And rise, O moon, from yonder down, Till over down and over dale All night the shining vapour sail And pass the silent-lighted town….
No longer half-akin to brute, For all we thought and loved and did, And hoped, and suffer’d, is but seed Of what in them* is flower and fruit….
Tennyson, In Memorium

epilogue
Have you practiced so long to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the
meaning of poems?
Whitman, Song of Myself
A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? . . . . I do not know what it is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.

Or I guess it must be the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child . . . . the produced babe of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.
Whitman, Song of Myself
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them;
It may be you are from old people and from women, and from offspring taken soon out of their mothers’ laps,
And here you are the mothers’ laps. [. . . .]

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.

All goes onward and outward . . . and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from any one supposed, and luckier.
Whitman, Song of Myself
“The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, and buzzed whispers . . . loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration . . . the beating of my heart . . . the passing of blood and air through my lungs.”
Whitman, Song of Myself
“Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.
Welcome is every organ and attribute of me.”
Whitman, Song of Myself
Follows a 66 line list of occupations and types:
“And these one and all tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am.”
Whitman, Song of Myself

Expansion
“Through me many long dumb voices,
Voices of interminable generations of slaves,
Voices of prostitutes and deformed persons,
Voices of the diseased and despairing, and of thieves and dwarves . . .

Through me forbidden voices,
Voices of sexes and lusts . . . voices veiled, and I remove the veil,
Voices indecent by me clarified and transfigured. . . .

Divine I am inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touched from.”
Whitman, Song of Myself

Expansion
“The disdain and calmness of martyrs,
The mother condemned for a witch and burnt with dry wood, and her children gazing on;
The hounded slave that flags in the race and leans by the fence, blowing and covered with sweat,
The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck,
The murderous buckshot and bullets,
All these I feel or am. . . .

Agonies are one of my changes of garments;
I do not ask the wounded person how he feels . . . I myself become the wounded person,
My heart turns livid upon me as I stand on a cane and observe.”
Whitman, Song of Myself

Expansion
“This is the press of a bashful hand . . . . this is the float and odor of hair,
This is the touch of my lips to yours . . . . this is the murmur of yearning,
This is the far-off depth and height reflecting my own face,
This is the thoughtful urge of myself and the outlet again.”
Whitman, Song of Myself

Expansion
“I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy,
To touch my person to some one else’s is about as much as I can stand.

Is this then a touch? . . . . quivering me to a new identity?”
Whitman, Song of Myself

Expansion
"I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle dove, and am still on their trail. Many are the travelers I have spoken to concerning them, describing their tracks and what calls they answered to. I have met one or two who had heard the hound, and the tramp of the horse, and even seen the dove disappear behind a cloud, and they seemed as anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves.“
Thoreau, Walden
“a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys”
Dickens, Christmas Carol
“…the raisins were so plentiful and rare, the almonds so extremely white, the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight, the other spices so delicious, the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious”
Dickens, Christmas Carol
“What shall I put you down for?” “Nothing!” Scrooge replied. “You wish to be anonymous?” “I wish to be left alone,”
Dickens, Christmas Carol
“Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so…. You are changed. When it was made, you were another man.” “I was a boy,” he said impatiently
Dickens, Christmas Carol
“My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house…”
Dickens, Christmas Carol
And perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off this power of his, or else it was his own kind, generous, hearty nature, and his sympathy with all poor men, that led him straight to Scrooge’s clerk’s; … and on the threshold of the door the Spirit smiled, and stopped to bless Bob Cratchit’s dwelling with the sprinklings of his torch. Think of that!
Dickens, Christmas Carol

otherness b/c poor
From the foldings of its robe, it [the Second Spirit] brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment….
They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish, but prostrate, too, in their humility.… No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.
Dickens, Christmas Carol

conversion of children into monsters
“Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware of this boy [Ignorance], for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased…”
Dickens, Christmas Carol
“A light shone from the window of a hut…. Passing through the wall of mud and stone, they found a cheerful company assembled round a glowing fire…. The old man … was singing them a Christmas song….”
Dickens, Christmas Carol
There were more dances, and there were forfeits*, and more dances, and there was cake, and there was negus, and there was a great piece of Cold Roast, and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled, and there were mince-pies, and plenty of beer….
When the clock struck eleven, this domestic ball broke up. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side the door, and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas
Dickens, A Christmas Carol

moral economy
“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ‘em up; what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune”
Dickens, A Christmas Carol


moral economy
“Business!” cried the Ghost wringing its hands again. “Mankind was [i.e., should have been] my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business’”
Dickens, A Christmas Carol


over-sentimental
“Often it had occurred to me in my ponderings upon the subject, that had that altercation taken place in the public street, or at a private residence, it would not have terminated as it did. It was the circumstance of being alone in a solitary office, up stairs, of a building entirely unhallowed by humanizing domestic associations [. . .] which greatly helped to enhance the irritable desperation of the hapless Colt”
Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
“He now persists in haunting the building generally, sitting upon the banisters of the stairs by day, and sleeping in the entry by night. Every body is concerned; clients are leaving the offices; some fears are entertained of a mob”
Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
“His steadiness, his freedom from all dissipation, his incessant industry . . . his great stillness, his unalterableness of demeanor under all circumstances, made him a valuable acquisition. One prime thing is this—he was always there”
Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
As if long famishing for something to copy, he seemed to gorge himself on my documents. There was no pause for digestion. He ran a day and night line, copying by sun-light and by candle-light. I should have been quite delighted with his application, had he been cheerfully industrious. But he wrote on silently, palely, mechanically
Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
“At all events, I saw that go he would not. So I made up my mind to let him stay”
Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
“‘If you do not go away from these premises before night, I shall feel bound—indeed I am bound—to—to—to quit the premises myself!”
Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
“The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep”
Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
“At one end [my office] looked upon the white wall of the interior of a spacious sky-light shaft, penetrating the building from top to bottom. This view might have been considered rather tame than otherwise, deficient in what landscape painters call ‘life.’ But if so, the view from the other end of my chambers offered, at least, a contrast, if nothing more. In that direction my windows commanded an unobstructed view of a lofty brick wall, black by age and everlasting shade; which wall required no spy-glass to bring out its lurking beauties, but for the benefit of all near-sighted spectators, was pushed up with ten feet of my window panes”
Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
“‘The man you allude to is nothing to me.’”

“‘I know nothing about him.’”
Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
“the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible”
Edgar Allen Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher
“an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime”
Edgar Allen Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher
“He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of certain texture; the odors of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror”
Edgar Allen Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher
The belief was connected with the gray stones of the home of his forefathers. The condition of the sentience had been here, he imagined, fulfilled in the method of the collocation of these stones . . . [and the] evidence of the sentience was to be seen . . . in the gradual yet certain condensation of an atmosphere of their own about the waters and the walls”
Edgar Allen Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher
“That piece of [black] crape . . . kept him in that saddest of all prisons, his own heart.”
Hawthorne, The minister's black veil
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore, Twenty-eight young men, and all so friendly, Twenty-eight years of womanly life, and all so lonesome.
She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank, She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window….
Where are you off to, lady? for I see you, You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room
Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Yet, for all he absorbs, the subjectivity of the young woman eludes him: he observes her from outside … just as she observes the men.
“As to her, she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. If that’s not high praise, tell me higher, and I’ll use it.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

woman as helpmate
“If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”
Dickinson, Letters on "E.D."
You inquire my Books—For Poets—I have Keats—and Mr and Mrs Browining. For Prose—Mr Ruskin—Sir Thomas Browne—and the Revelations”
Dickinson, Poems
“You speak of Mr Whitman—I never read his Book—but was told that he was disgraceful–”
Dickinson, Poems
Of her family: “They are religious—except me—and address an Eclipse, every morning—whom they call their ‘Father’”
Dickinson, Poems
I think I was enchanted When first a sombre Girl– I read that Foreign Lady– The Dark—felt beautiful—
Dickinson, Poems
This is my letter to the World
That never wrote to Me-
The simple News that Nature told-
With tender Majesty

Her message is committed
To Hands I cannot see-
For love of Her-Sweet-countrymen-
Judge tenderly-of Me
Dickinson, Poems
It dropped so low in my regard
I heard it hit the ground,
And go to pieces on the stones
At bottom of my mind;

Yet blamed the fate that fractured, less
Than I reviled myself
For entertaining plated wares
Upon my silver shelf.
Dickinson, Poems
I'm wife; I've finished that,
That other state;
I'm Czar, I'm woman now:
It's safer so.

How odd the girl's life looks
Behind this soft eclipse!
I think that earth seems so
To those in heaven now.

This being comfort, then
That other kind was pain;
But why compare?
I'm wife! stop there!
Dickinson, Poems
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or ever man be blind -
Dickinson, Poems
(“There’s a certain Slant of light/Winter afternoons —/That oppresses, like the Heft/Of Cathedral tunes —/. . . When it comes, the Landscape listens —/Shadows — hold their breath —/When it does, ’tis like the Distance/On the look of Death
Dickinson, Poems
I never lost as much but twice,
And that was in the sod.
Twice have I stood a beggar
Before the door of God!

Angels - twice descending
Reimbursed by store -
Burglar! Banker - Father!
I am poor once more!
Dickinson, Poems
The Soul selects her own Society--
Then--shuts the Door--
To her divine Majority--
Present no more--

Unmoved--she notes the Chariots--pausing
At her low Gate--
Unmoved --an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat--

I've known her--from an ample nation--
Choose One--
Then--close the Valves of her attention--
Like Stone--
Dickinson, poems
I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portions of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –
Dickinson, poems
A heart—how shall I say—too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, ‘twas all one! My favor at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her….
Browning, My Last Duchess
Who’d stoop to blame This sort of trifling: Even had you skill In speech (which I have not)… --E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile. This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will ‘t please you rise?
Browning, My Last Duchess
When a boy starves in the streets Eight years together, as my fortune was, Watching folk’s faces to know who will fling The bit of half-stripped grape bunch he desires, And who will curse or kick him for his pains--- […] Why, soul and sense of him grow sharp alike, He learns the look of things….
Browning, Fra Lippo Lippi
Suppose you reproduce her—(which you can’t) There’s no advantage! You must beat her, then. For, don’t you mark? We’re made so that we love First when we see them painted, things we have passed Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see; And so they are better, painted—better to us, Which is the same thing. Art was given for that; God uses us to help each other so, Lending our minds out.
Browning, Fra Lippo Lippi
Or say there’s beauty with no soul at all– (I never saw it—put the case the same--) If you get simple beauty and naught else, You get about the best thing God invents: That’s somewhat: and you’ll find the soul you have missed, Within yourself, when you return him thanks.
Browning, Fra Lippo Lippi
However, you’re my man, you’ve seen the world --The beauty and the wonder and the power, The shapes of things, their colors, lights and shades, Changes, surprises—and God made it all! --For what? Do you feel thankful, aye or no ….
This world’s no blot for us, Nor blank; it means intensely, and means good: To find its meaning is my meat and drink.
Browning, Fra Lippo Lippi
Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light….
Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach”
Facing west from California’s shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the
land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled;
For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere,
From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the hero,
From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice islands,
Long having wander’d since, round the earth having wander’d,
Now I face home again, very pleas’d and joyous,
(But where is what I started for long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?)
Whitman, Facing West from California's Shores
Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile. This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will ‘t please you rise?
Browning, My Last Duchess
This is my son, mine own Telemachus…. Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere Of common duties, decent not to fail In offices of tenderness, and pay Meet adoration to my household gods, When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
Tennyson, Ulysses

Ulysses does not seem to know where he is. Inside, outside, by his hearth, on the beach, in private, in public…
Direct address to his aged comrades (“My mariners”). Ulysses may forecast the Victorian imperialist drive to colonize, but he speaks about gaining experience & knowledge. His Romantic/Victorian take-home message = heroic striving: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits--on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Arnold, Dover Beach

romantic setting, victorian, post-romatic disruptions
Come to the window, sweet is the night air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in.
Arnold, Dover Beach
Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow, Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
Arnold, Dover Beach
The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world.
Arnold, Dover Beach

Religious Faith is withdrawing--like the sea. A momentous paradigm change. A tragic world minus religious consolation.
Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Arnold, Dover Beach

Post-romantic love. Speaker ends by addressing the woman (“love”). He urges mutual fidelity. Why? Because beauty only deceives. Because the world has no joy, light, certainty, peace, solace, or—love!
I started Early—Took my Dog—
And visited the Sea—
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me—

And Frigates—in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands—
Presuming Me to be a Mouse—
Aground—upon the Sands—

But no Man moved Me—till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe—
And past my Apron—and my Belt
And past my Bodice—too—
Arnold, Dover Beach
And made as He would eat me up—
As wholly as a Dew
Upon a Dandelion’s Sleeve—
And then—I started—too—

And He—He followed—close behind—
I felt His Silver Heel
Upon my Ankle—Then my Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl—

Until We met the Solid Town—
No One He seemed to know—
And bowing—with a Mighty look—
At me—The Sea withdrew—
Arnold, Dover Beach