So Slight & Pure & Deep


The great globular cluster in the constellation Hercules, c. 1890

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journal, February 17, 1838

My good Henry Thoreau made this else solitary afternoon sunny with his simplicity & clear perception. How comic is simplicity in this doubledealing quacking world. Every thing that boy says makes merry with society though nothing can be graver than his meaning. I told him he should write out the history of his College life as Carlyle has his tutoring. We agreeed that the seeing the stars through a telescope would be worth all the Astronomical lectures. Then he described Mr. Quimby’s electrical lecture here & the experiment of the shock & added that “College Corporations are very blind to the fact that that twinge in the elbow is worth all the lecturing.” Tonight I walked under the stars through the snow & stopped & looked at my far sparklers & heard the voice of the wind so slight & pure & deep as if it were the sound of the stars themselves revolving.

The Andromeda Nebula, c. 1890

About the Author

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, poet and Transcendentalist.

Publication Rights

Ermerson’s writings are in the public domain (via).


Photographs captured using Grubb Parsons equipment. Thanks to Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

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