when half-gods go

I remembered this past week a poem that used to matter a lot to me in college, especially for its ending lines.  I discovered it around a time of my life when I was clearing a particular boy out of my romantic life– a boy I was very close to, one I cared about a great deal, who was one of my best friends at the time.  He was marvelous and hilarious and gorgeous, but I knew he wasn’t the right one.  He was what Emerson refers to below as a “half-god.”  I couldn’t settle for a half-god.  Because when half-gods go, the gods arrive.

Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good fame,
Plans, credit, and the muse;
Nothing refuse.

‘Tis a brave master,
Let it have scope,
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope;
High and more high,
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent;
But ’tis a god,
Knows its own path,
And the outlets of the sky.
‘Tis not for the mean,
It requireth courage stout,
Souls above doubt,
Valor unbending;
Such ’twill reward,
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.

Leave all for love;—
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behoved,
One pulse more of firm endeavor,
Keep thee to-day,
To-morrow, for ever,
Free as an Arab
Of thy beloved.
Cling with life to the maid;
But when the surprise,
Vague shadow of surmise,
Flits across her bosom young
Of a joy apart from thee,
Free be she, fancy-free,
Do not thou detain a hem,
Nor the palest rose she flung
From her summer diadem.

Though thou loved her as thyself,
As a self of purer clay,
Tho’ her parting dims the day,
Stealing grace from all alive,
Heartily know,
When half-gods go,
The gods arrive.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Still waiting for that Mr. Right!!!!

 

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