Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888)

See the Amos Bronson Alcott Network .

"The son of a farmer in Wolcott, Conn., he pursued his calling as a schoolmaster, traveled through the South, taught children's schools in Boston, and reached the culmination of his pedagogic career in the Concord Summer School of Philosophy.  He is most widely known as the intimate friend and neighbor of Emerson, and as the father of Louisa M. Alcott, author of Little WomenSonnets and Canzonets .  (Roberts Bros.)"  (Crandall


Who nearer Nature's life would truly come
Must nearer come to him of whom I speak:
He all kinds knew,--the vocal and the dumb;
Masterful in genius was he and unique,
Patient, sagacious, tender, frolicsome.
This Concord Pan would oft his whistle take,
And forth from wood and fen, field, hill, and lake,
Trooping around him in their several guise,
The shy inhabitants their haunts forsake;
Then he, like Æsop, man would satirize,
Hold up the image wild to clearest view
Of undiscerning manhood's puzzled eyes,
And mocking say, "Lo!  mirrors here for you:
Be true as these if ye would be more wise."

To Mrs. Alcott

Mean are all titles of nobility,
And kins poor spendthrifts while I do compare
The wealth she daily lavishes on me
Of love, the noble kingdom that I share:
Is it the jealous year, for emphasis,
Sheds beauteous sunshine and refreshing dews?
My maiden's mouth doth softlier court and kiss,
Tint springtime's virgin cheek with rosier hues.
Fly faster o'er my page, impassioned quill,
Signing this note of mine with tenderer touch!
Say I no measure find to mete my will,
Say that I love, but cannot tell how much;
Let time and trouble the full story tell:
I cannot love thee more.  I know I love thee well.

To L. M. A.

When I remember with what buoyant heart,
Midst war's alarms and woes of civil strife,
In youthful eagerness thou didst depart,
At peril of thy safety, peace, and life,
To nurse the wounded soldier, swathe the dead,--
How piercèd soon by fever's poisoned dart,
And brought unconscious home, with 'wildered head,--
Though ever since, mid languor and dull pain,
To conquer fortune, cherish kindred dear,
Hast with grave studies vexed a sprightly brain,
In myriad households kindled love and cheer;
Ne'er from thyself by Fame's lound trump beguiled,
Sounding in this and the farther hemisphere,--
I press thee to my heart as Duty's faithful child.

Read at Emerson's Funeral

His harp is silent; shall successors rise,
Touching with venturous hand the trembling string,
Kindle glad raptures, visions of surprise,
And wake to ecstasy each slumbering thing?
Shall life and thought flash new in wondering eyes,
As when the seer transcendant, sweet and wise,
World-wide his native melodies did sing,
Flushed with fair hopes and ancient memories?
Ah no: that matchless lyre shall silent lie;
None hath the vanished minstrel's wondrous skill
To touch that instrument with art and will,
With him winged Poesy doth droop and die;
While our dull age, left voiceless, must lament
The bard high Heaven had for its service sent.


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