to throw itself into every point. If the good is there, so is the evil; If the affinity, so the repulsion; if the force, so the limitation” (Essays 56). Consequently, the dual aspects of the entities exhibits that each object contains the whole truth of the world since the opposite notions are simultaneously present in each substance.
Lastly, in a comparison between Emerson and ‘Visionary poets’, the notion of ‘microcosm’ is worth mentioning. In the previous part of this chapter entitled “Individuality”, it was explained that the “Visionary Artists” use their individual power, or their intuition, to understand the truth of the world. One of the other aspects of this kind of art, according to Joseph Nechvatal, is the belief in the presence of the cosmos in each essence of the world: “What unites visionary artists is the driving force and source of their art: their unconventionally intense psychic imaginations. Their gift to the world is to reveal ‘in minute particulars’, as Blake would say, the full spectrum of the vast visionary dimensions of the mind” (Blake and visionary Art). Also, Alex Grey, the outstanding visionary artist, considers this notion of microcosm common in most of visionary artists (“Visions of Alex Grey”). Accordingly, William Blake is amongst those artists who follows the same route in his depiction of art and poetry, and also Emerson exactly holds to this idea as one of his own. Emerson brings many reasons to prove his doctrine of ‘microcosm’. In “The Over-Soul” he asserts that if someone needs anything that is for the best, it will certainly come to him, because the heart in every one is the heart of all (Essays 140). In another essay “Nature”, Emerson maintains: “The rule of one art, or a law of one organization holds true throughout nature. A leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole and partakes of the perfection of the whole; each particle is a microcosm” (Essays273). This power in each minute entity is also obvious in actions happening in the universe. In the same essay Emerson writes: “The wise man, in doing one thing, does all; or, in the one thing he does rightly, he sees the likeness of all which is done rightly”(۲۷۳). Indeed, his microcosmic view is not just limited to objects, but it also includes activities or abstract notions.
The trace of the notion of ‘microcosm’ is clear in Emerson’s writings. Many doctrines of his ideas prove that everything in the world is a replica of the universal soul of the world to manifest the omnipresence of ‘the Over-Soul’, that is, the all is in each particle and the entire nature reappears in every leaf and moss (The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 5: 180). Actually, in his notion of ‘microcosm’ he reveals that the identity of each creature is ‘the Over-Soul’.
New Identity in Emerson’s Selected Poems
Chapter three deals with finding a new identity for creatures of the world and especially human being, in light of Emerson’s doctrine of unity. The traces of the concept “unity” will be demonstrated in the poems of Emerson i.e., “Each and All”, “The Sphinx”, “Brahma”, “Unity”, and “Xenophanes”. The study reveals that all the creatures and also human being have one reality that is the united soul of the world or ‘the Over-Soul’. In fact ‘the Over-Soul’ is the truth of every creature. This new identity for everything and especially for human makes everyone consider himself and others as one essence.
۳.۱. Unity in Emerson’s Philosophy
According to Emerson, God, man and nature are one truth that he entitles ‘the Over-Soul’ and it is the real essence of the world. In other words, ‘the Over-Soul’ contains everything in the world and it is the united spirit of it. This unity relates every substance to the other one and Consequently, each one affects the other one.
۳.۲.۱ Unity in “Each and All”
The poem was first published in the Transcendentalist magazine, the Western messenger in
۱۸۳۹. It was included in the first collection of poems published in 1839. “Each and All” represents wholeness in the universe and the interconnectedness among all parts of the world. The poem at first shows the relation between the individual and the universal, the “each” and the “all”. Then, it discusses some examples that reveal the interrelated parts which cannot be separated and at the end it states that beauty is not the ultimate goal but a way to understanding the truth of the world that is hidden in the perfect whole.
۳.۱.۱.۱ The Relation of Each and All to Shape a Unity
The poem introduces the unity in the universe through its title and some examples in the poem to show that each entity is related to its whole background.
The poem took its inspiration from another poem by the German Idealist Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), titled “Eins und Alles” which was published as “One and All” in the North American Review in April 1839.The last line of the poem “Each and All”, “I yielded myself to the perfect whole” (۵۱), reflects some lines of Goethe’s poem: “How yearns the solitary soul / To melt into the boundless soul” (۲-۳). The lines of the poems show that the individual is resolved in the universal reality that is the truth of the world. The poem’s title draws on the Coleridgean idea of each and all or as Lawrence Buell names, the correspondential theory. Coleridge considers each object related to the whole reality in the world. The doctrine explains and illuminates the essential relationship between the part and the whole, between the particular and universal (Felker14). Likewise, Emerson shapes his doctrine about the opposite substances. He states that the contrasting qualities have the same reality.
۳.۱.۱.۲. The Interrelatedness of all Things in the World
This part of analysis focuses on showing the interconnection of everything to the other one in the world. It also reveals that the reality of each entity is to be found in the reality of the whole things in the world. In fact each essence is to be defined by the universal reality of all the essences in the universe.
The first section of the poem (lines 1-12) holds that all things in the world are interrelated. This relation is not always clear to man. People don’t know that their behaviors affect other things in the world. In fact each person “little thinks” about the relation between “the flowers” on top of a hill and the “cow” in the fields below. A man doesn’t know that when “tolling his bell at noon” causes Napoleon to stop and remember enjoyable memories:
The sexton tolling the bell at noon,
Dreams not that great Napoleon
Stops his horse, and lists with delight,
Whilst his files sweep round yon Alpine height
Nor knowest thou what argument
Thy life to thy neighbor’s creed has lent. (All poems 5-10)
Tiffany Wayne states that we do not know what influence one thing or one person might have upon another; we cannot know “what argument / Thy life to thy neighbor’s creed has lent” (۹-۱۰). The poet reminds us, however, that, even if we fail to see the connections, “All are needed by each one” (Wayne, Critical Companion to Emerson 83). Emerson believes that all the entities in the world have the same reality and everything is united with other things. Consequently, each creature affects another one because the source of all of them is the same reality. Wayne writes in
her analysis of the first section of the poem: “People, as well, go about their daily tasks, one man not realizing that “tolling his bell at noon” has caused Napoleon to stop and reminisce” (۸۴).When Sexton tolls the bell, it makes Napoleon to reminds good memories, which is because the bell’s sound has an influence on the man. Also, line ten states that everyone’s argument affects his neighbor to clearly declare that all human’s behavior have effects on other persons. This reality shows that man should be careful about his behavior and everything he does influences other men as they all have one reality. Therefore, if someone does his best, his act shows itself in other men. No one is free of the consequences of others’ deeds. This new identity for everything and especially human shows that man’s reality is that of the whole things in the world. Also, he learns that his identity reveals the influence of everything on the other one in the world. In fact, he will know that if someone does good or bad actions, it will affect other people and if other persons are harmed, in fact he is harmed.
In the second section of the poem (lines 13-36), each of the three sub-passages, relies on an imagistic technique, using a single image to relate a message. It generally reveals that various interrelated parts of nature cannot be separated and that it is not possible to take different actions and beings out of the contexts. It states that everything is worthless out of its background. An object is not beautiful by itself. It needs its surroundings to have beauty and magnificence. The poem, mentions this notion through some examples, a bird, some seashells and a pretty woman.
The first example is about a bird, a sparrow that attracts Emerson’s attention. He brings the bird home. It sings but the sound is not like the time when it was in nature, not as beautiful as that time.
I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home in his nest at even;
He sings the song, but he cheers not now,
For I did not bring home the river and sky. (All poems 13-17)
Then the speaker understands that the bird is out of its home, its background. Thus, he reflects that as the sparrow “sang to my ear”, the river and sky also “sang to my eye”. He realizes that he cannot appreciate the bird’s sound since its beauty is incorporated into other things, the river and sky which the speaker couldn’t bring home.
As it was stated the poem through some examples shows the interrelation of each thing with the whole background. The second example is that of some “delicate shells” he picks up from the seashore. It should be considered that the traces of the root of Emerson’s understanding of the effect of the particular within the context of the whole goes back to his earlier life as he writes in his journal in 1834 of the memory of gathering some shells from seaside: “I remember when I was a boy going upon the beach and being charmed with the colors and forms of the shells. I picked many up and put them in my pocket. When I got home, I could find nothing that I gathered; nothing, but some dry mussels and snail shells” (qtd. in Wayne, Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism 91). In the poem, the speaker brings the seashells home but they lose their magnificence. He understands that when he picked up the shells, he indeed separated them from “the bubbles of the latest wave” and the “weeds and foam”. Wayne declares that since with the beautiful