Source: May-Day and Other Pieces (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1867).
Etext source:


by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

If the red slayer think he slays,
  Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know well the subtle ways
  I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near;
  Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanquished gods to me appear;
  And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
  When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
  And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
  And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
  Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

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