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Short poem

Selected Poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

  1. Brahma
  2. Days
  3. Each and All
  4. Experience
  5. Fate
  6. Good-Bye
  7. Hymn: Sung at the Completion of the Concord Monument, April 19, 1836
  8. Ode, Inscribed to William H. Channing
  9. The Rhodora
  10. The Snow-Storm

Notes on Life and Works

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston and attended Boston Latin School from 1812 to 1817, and Harvard from then to 1821. His first career, as a school-teacher, lasted four years, after which he was licensed to preach as a Unitarian. In 1829 he was ordained minister of Second Church in Boston and married his first wife, Ellen Louisa Tucker. After her death from consumption in 1831 Emerson left the Second Church and went to Europe, where he made first contact with writers in England with whom he would visit again in 1872. His third career, as a lecturer and man of letters, began in 1834. The year after, he made his home in Concord, Massachusetts, and married his second wife, Lydian Jackson, a year later. By the publication of Nature in 1836, Emerson had made his reputation. While editing The Dial, he brought out his collections of Essays (1841, 1844). Between his two volumes of poems, Poems (1846) and May-Day and Other Pieces (1867), he published major works such as Representative Men (1850), English Traits (1856), and The Conduct of Life (1860). He also edited Parnassus (1874), an anthology of his favourite poems. Emerson died in Concord, April 27, 1882, of pneumonia and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord.

Biographical information

Given name: Ralph Waldo
Family name: Emerson
Birth date: 25 May 1803
Death date: 27 April 1882
Nationality: American
Family relations
          wife: Ellen Louisa Emerson
          wife: Lydian Emerson
          Boston Latin School: 1812 to 1817
          Harvard University: 1817 to 1821
Religion: Unitarian
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Buried at: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord
First RPO edition: 2002