Such, in some attempt at an organization, are a few of Emerson’s favorite ideas, which occur over and over again, no matter what may be the subject of the essay. Though Emerson was to some degree identified, in his own time, with various movements which have had little or no permanent effect, yet as we read him now we find extraordinarily little that suggests the limitations of his time and locality. Often there are whole paragraphs which if we had read them in Greek would have seemed Greek. The good sense which kept him clear of Brook Farm because he thought Fourier “had skipped no fact but one, namely life,” kept him clear from many similar departures into matters which the twenty-first century will probably not remember. This is as it should be in the essay, which by custom draws the subject for its “dispersed meditations” from the permanent things of this world, such as Friendship, Truth, Superstition, and Honor. One of Emerson’s sources of strength, therefore, is his universality.

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