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Brahma by Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Brahma" is a poem written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Brahma" is "the Creator" in Hinduism. "Brahmin" in the line "I am the hymn the Brahmin sings." is definitely not a coincidence that it has two meanings. One meaning is a socialite who has great power and the other meaning is a high priest in Hinduism. Basically, this poem is said by "Brahma" to his people. He's saying that people sometimes forget him, but if you are good, you shouldn't.

This poem is written as four stanzas with four lines in each. It is rhymed as ABAB. It is written in pyrrhic-tetrameter (no stresses).



If the red slayer think he slays,
    Or if the slain think he is slain, 
They know not well the subtle ways
    I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near;
    Shadow and sunlight are the same; 
The vanished gods to me appear;
    And one to me are shame and fame.

They recon ill who leave me out;
    When me they fly, I am the wings; 
I am the doubter and the doubt,
    I am the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
    And pine in vain the sacred Seven; 
But thou, meek lover of the good!
    Find me, and turn thy back on heaven
More Ralph Waldo Emerson poems:

Next: Concord Hymn
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Literary Movement
Transcendentalism, 19th Century


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