Brahma

Original Text: 
May-day and Other Pieces (London: G. Routledge, 1867) PS 1624 .M3 Robarts Library
2    Or if the slain think he is slain,
3They know not well the subtle ways
4    I keep, and pass, and turn again.
5Far or forgot to me is near;
6    Shadow and sunlight are the same;
7The vanished gods to me appear;
8    And one to me are shame and fame.
9They reckon ill who leave me out;
10    When me they fly, I am the wings;
11I am the doubter and the doubt,
13The strong gods pine for my abode,
15But thou, meek lover of the good!
16    Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

Notes

1] Brahma: Hindu god and spirit of the universe itself. Emerson used the Vishnu Purana as the source for his ideas here (Richardson 407). Cf. Andrew M. McLean, "Emerson's Brahma as an Expression of Brahmin," NEQ 42 (Mar. 1964): 115-22, andK. W. Cameron, "The Reception of Emerson's 'Brahma': Parodies and Paraphrases," ARLR 2 (1988): 165-90. Back to Line
12] Brahmin: caste of Hindu high priests and teachers. Back to Line
14] Perhaps the seven greatly wise priests from one of whom each Brahmin was expected to trace his origins: Atri, Bharadvaja, Gautama, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Vasishtha, and Vishvamitra. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1857
Publication Notes: 
Atlantic Monthly.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2002
Rhyme: