The review from Amazon.com reviewer
These days, celebrity authors earn thousands of dollars for a speech, but back in the 1880s, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the first American author known to receive payment for delivering a talk, was paid $5 and oats for his horse.
But if there be irresistible dictation, this dictation
understands itself. If we must accept Fate, we are not
less compelled to affirm liberty, the significance of the
individual, the grandeur of duty, the power of character.
This is true, and that other is true. But our geometry
cannot span these extreme points, and reconcile them.
What to do? By obeying each thought frankly, by
harping, or, if you will, pounding on each string, we
learn at last its power. By the same obedience to
other thoughts, we learn theirs, and then comes some
reasonable hope of harmonizing them. We are sure,
that, though we know not how, necessity does comport
with liberty, the individual with the world, my polar-
ity with the spirit of the times. The riddle of the age
has for each a private solution. If one would study
his own time, it must be by this method of taking up
in turn each of the leading topics which belong to our
scheme of human life, and, by firmly stating all that is
agreeable to experience on one, and doing the same
justice to the opposing facts in the others, the true lim-
itations will appear. Any excess of emphasis, on one
part, would be corrected, and a just balance would be
But let us honestly state the facts. Our America has
a bad name for superficialness. Great men, great na-
tions, have not been boasters and buffoons, but perceivers
of the terror of Hfe, and have manned themselves to face
it. The Spartan, embodying his religion in his country,
dies before its majesty without a question. The Turk,
who believes his doom is written on the iron leaf in the
moment when he entered the world, rushes on the en-
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