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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882) American philosopher and poet


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Poem by Emerson, first published in The Dial (1841) and collected in his Poems (1847).

In 17 stanzas of two quatrains with irregular two- and three-stress lines, it tells of a poet meeting the Sphinx and solving the riddle of the all-inclusive divine spirit: “Who telleth one of my meanings, Is master of all I am.” Emerson paraphrased the poem in his notebook (1859): “The perception of identity unites all things and explains one by another…. But if the mind live only in particulars … then the world addresses to this mind a question it cannot answer.”

Subjects: Literature.

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