Monday, November 15, 2010

a due balance of development

[graphic]I came across this morning, "Emerson: Man and Teacher," a volume by Henry Bellyse Baildon in his "Round Table Series" published by William Brown;  Edinburgh, during the latter years of the 19th Century.  This the mission statement of the series:

"THE aim of this Series is to give expression to the views of a number of writers, who, while representing divers and even antagonistic schools of thought, desire to give temperate and reasoned statements of their beliefs. The earlier numbers will be studies of the teachings of eminent modern authors, and of these the projectors of the scheme hope to be able to issue a fairly comprehensive series.

To Seek the Grail rode forth the knights of old
Of Arthur's Table Round, nor did they fail,
Wholly or all, who went, those champions bold,

To Seek the Grail.

The Grail we seek is Truth—nor bought nor sold
In any mart; nay, Strength may not avail,
But Purity and Faith: and, as they told

Who wrought the olden legend, so we hold—
None wholly here succeed—none wholly fail. '
So through the world's wide kingdoms we are bold

To seek the Grail."

"Emerson:  Man and Teacher" begins with this discussion of Emerson the "trinitarian:"

THE human trinity, like the Divine, has its vicissitudes of prominence, and, as the Puritan worshipped the God of Judgment and Righteousness, the Evangelical the Man-God of Intercession and Forgiveness, and the Mystic the informing and comforting Spirit, so we have ages and classes of men to whom the physical, the intellectual, and emotional sides of our nature have seemed in turn most worthy of attention and culture. And, as in matters theological it is a rare thing to find a true Athanasian to whom no person of the deity " is afore or after other," so it is seldom we find a man whose culture and development are thoroughly well-balanced and rounded. We see the athlete, who amazes us with feats of strength and grace of movement, woefully deficient in brain-power and in force of character; so may we find the man of intellect defective in physical and moral force and activity, and most worthy and even noble persons whose intellectual and bodily powers hardly escape contempt. Or, again, we may find vigour, health, and clear-headedness combined with a nature but ill developed on the moral and emotional sides. Natures thus thrown out of symmetry seem to be parts rather than wholes, and afflict us with a sense of defect and deformity; even as gorgeous hot-house plants miss the grace and charm that greet us in many a wayside weed. When, therefore, we do meet a character in which at least there is a brave striving after due balance of development, we seem at last to have come face to face with true humanity. Such an one, to a large extent, we take Emerson to have been."


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