April 28, 2008

To be Columbus

Though I do not find much attraction in the seaman yet I can discern that the naval hero is a hero. It takes all the thousand thousand European voyages that have been made to stablish our faith in the practicability of this our hodiurnal voyage. But to be Columbus, to steer WEST steadily day after day, week after week, for the first time, and wholly alone in his opinion, shows a mind as solitary & self-subsistent as any that ever lived.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson [from his journals, Jan. 7, 1833], in EMERSON IN HIS JOURNALS, selected and edited by Joel Porte, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachsetts) - London (England), 1982.


  1. Great passage. I found a Viking 'portable Emerson' in my library. I might start to read some of it sooner or later.
    Man of Roma

  2. And that's what I'd recommend you do ... ;-)