What has ever happened .... what happens and whatever may or shall happen, the vital laws enclose all .... they are sufficent for any case and for all cases ... none to be hurried or retarded .... any miracle of affairs or persons inadmissible in the vast clear scheme where every motion and every spear of grass and the frames and spirits of men and women and all that concerns them are unspeakably perfect miracles all referring to all and each distinct and in its place. It is also not consistent with the reality of the soul to admit that there is anything in the known universe more divine than men and women.
Men and women and the earth and all upon it are simply to be taken as they are, and the investigation of their past and present and future shall be unintermitted and shall be done with perfect candor. Upon this basis philosophy speculates ever looking toward the poet, ever regarding the eternal tendencies of all toward happiness never inconsistent with what is clear to the senses and to the soul. For the eternal tendencies of all toward happiness make the only point of sane philosophy. Whatever comprehends less than that ... whatever is less than the laws of light and of astronomical motion ... or less than the laws that follow the thief the liar, the glutton and the drunkard through this life and doubtless afterward ...... or less than vast stretches of time or the slow formation of density or the patient upheaving of strata – is of no account. Whatever would put God in a poem or system of philosophy as contending against some being or influence is also of no account. Sanity and ensemble characterise the great master ... spoilt in one principle all is spoilt. The great master has nothing to do with miracles. He sees health for himself in being one of the mass .... he sees the hiatus in singular eminence. To the perfect shape comes common ground. To be under the general law is great for that is to correspond with it. The master knows that he is unspeakably great and that all are unspeakably great .... that nothing for instance is greater than to conceive children and bring them up well ... that to be is just as great as to perceive or tell.
In the make of the great masters the idea of political liberty is indispensible. Liberty takes the adherence of heroes wherever men and women exist .... but never takes any adherence or welcome from the rest more than from poets. They are the voice and exposition of liberty. They out of ages are worthy the grand idea .... to them it is confided and they must sustain it. Nothing has precedence of it and nothing can warp or degrade it. The attitude of great poets is to cheer up slaves and horrify despots. The turn of their necks, the sound of their feet, the motions of their wrists, are full of hazard to the one and hope to the other. Come nigh them awhile and though they neither speak or advise you shall learn the faithful American lesson. Liberty is poorly served by men whose good intent is quelled from one failure or two failures or any number of failures, or from the casual indifference or ingratitude of the people, or from the sharp show of the tushes of power, or the bringing to bear soldiers and cannon or any penal statutes. Liberty relies upon itself, invites no one, promises nothing, sits in calmness and light, is positive and composed, and knows no discouragement. The battle rages with many a loud alarm and frequent advance and retreat .... the enemy triumphs .... the prison, the handcuffs, the iron necklace and anklet, the scaffold, garrote and leadballs do their work .... the cause is asleep .... the strong throats are choked with their own blood .... the young men drop their eyelashes toward the ground when they pass each other .... and is liberty gone out of that place? No never. When liberty goes it is not the first to go nor the second or third to go .. it waits for all the rest to go .. it is the last. .. When the memories of the old martyrs are faded utterly away .... when the large names of patriots are laughed at in the public halls from the lips of the orators .... when the boys are no more christened after the same but christened after tyrants and traitors instead .... when the laws of the free are grudgingly permitted and laws for informers and bloodmoney are sweet to the taste of the people .... when I and you walk abroad upon the earth stung with compassion at the sight of numberless brothers answering our equal friendship and calling no man master – and when we are elated with noble joy the sight of slaves .... when the soul retires in the cool communion of the night and surveys its experience and has much extasy over the word and deed that put back a helpless innocent person into the gripe of the gripers or into any cruel inferiority .... when those in all parts of these states who could easier realize the true American character but do not yet – when the swarms of cringers, suckers, doughfaces, lice of politics, planners of sly involutions for their own preferment to city offices or state legislatures or the judiciary or congress or the presidency, obtain a response of love and natural deference from the people whether they get the offices or no .... when it is better to be a bound booby and rogue in office at a high salary than the poorest free mechanic or farmer with his hat unmoved from his head and firm eyes and a candid and generous heart .... and when servility by town or state or the federal government or any oppression on a large