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COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY THOMAS Y, CROWELL & COMPANY

THE NE : YORK

PUBLIC LIBRARY

42670B

ASTOR, LENA AND
TILDIN FOC.DATION

1039 L

PREFATORY NOTE

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N these days, when there is so much talk about the simple life, it is perhaps well to go back to

the writings of the New England philosopher from whom all the later writers on the subject have directly or indirectly derived their inspiration, and inquire of him at first hand just what the simple life and its requirements really are. One has not to read far in the

essays

and poems

of Emerson to understand that as he saw it the simple life was not governed by a definite formula, or a series of rules about personal expenses, diet, and “the return to nature, - whatever that may mean. To Emerson the simple life is the life in the spirit; it expresses an attitude of mind; it is a tendency, and not a fixed condition. To put oneself in harmony with the supreme laws of the universe, which are the laws of righteousness; to respect one's own individuality and the individuality of others; to be receptive before one is expressive; to have faith in the eternal and to look for perfection, but not to be impatient if it come not at one's bidding; to keep an open mind, unyielding courage, unvarying tolerance, and immutable loyalty to high ideals; to make friendship a religion, and love a sacrament, — these are the essentials of Emerson's doctrine; and they who have once known them in their fulness may well look askance at the suggestions of less inspired disciples. The opportunity of preparingan Emerson Calendar

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devolved upon me quite unexpectedly, but the calendar, such as it is, represents the results of much careful and persistent reading. It would hardly be possible, however, even in the course of three hundred and sixty-six short quotations, to give anything like an adequate outline of Emerson's teachings. The most one can hope for is that these selections may help to a clearer perception of life and its obligations, and to a greater reverence, admiration and love for a writer whose utterances lose nothing of their significance with the lapse of time. Surely, a little of his wisdom and poise are needed in an age when the stir and glitter of ever changing surfaces so distractingly obscure the movement of the great forces that make for serenity, steadfastness and joy.

H. S.

Dorchester, Massachusetts

April 19, 1905

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