Page:Studies of a Biographer 4.djvu/178

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164
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

ourselves at this mystical point of view. The poet who is to show us the truth under the outside world has not yet come. The prosaic person will refuse a consolation which proposes, according to him, to drop substantial facts for dreams and shadows. Yet he may allow that the emotion is in itself beautiful. If he cannot accept the optimist view of the world, he can, perhaps, learn from the optimist how to take the inevitable cheerfully. Emerson admits in one essay that Fate is a reality and has a very ugly side to it. Yet he ends by exhorting us to 'build altars to the beautiful necessity'; and, without bothering ourselves with metaphysical puzzles, to find comfort in the thought that 'all is made of one piece,' and that the Law which we dread is really 'Intelligence,' which vivifies nature, and somehow makes Fate identical with Freedom. This is not remarkable for lucidity, and to the prosaic reasoner may seem to amount to the statement that a man of fine moral nature may protect himself against harsh truth by cultivating pleasant illusions. Yet it shows how, without yielding to illusions, such a man can make his life beautiful. The secret is indicated in the beautiful essays upon 'Love' and 'Friendship.' In speaking of 'Friendship,' Emer-