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S A I N T S   &   B I R T H D A Y   P A G E

May 25, 1997

       Saint Of The Day:

     Ralph Waldo Emerson

alph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and poet, was the first distinctively American author to influence European thought. He was born in Boston on May 25, 1803. Seven of his ancestors were ministers, and his father, William Emerson, was minister of the First Church (Unitarian) of Boston. Emerson graduated from Harvard University at the age of 18 and for the next three years taught school in Boston. In 1825 he entered Harvard Divinity School and in 1826 was "approbated to preach" by the Middlesex Association of Ministers. In 1829 he became minister of the Second Church (Unitarian) of Boston. In that same year he married Ellen Tucker, who died 17 months later. In 1832 Emerson resigned from his pastoral appointment after declaring that he had ceased to regard the Lord's Supper as a permanent sacrament and could not continue to administer it. On Christmas Day, 1832, he went abroad and stayed for some time in England, where he met Walter Savage Landor, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Carlyle, and William Wordsworth. His meeting with Carlyle was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. On his return in 1833, Emerson settled in Concord, Mass., and became active as a lecturer in Boston. His addresses were based on material in his Journals, a collection of observations and notes that he had begun while a student at Harvard. His most detailed statement of belief was reserved for his first published book, Nature (1836), which appeared anonymously, but was soon correctly attributed to him. The volume received little notice, but it has come to be regarded as Emerson's most original and significant work, offering the essence of his philosophy of transcendentalism. This idealist doctrine opposed the popular materialist and Calvinist views of life and voiced a plea for freedom of the individual from artificial restraints. The next year Emerson applied these ideas to cultural and intellectual problems in his lecture "The American Scholar," delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard; a second address, commonly referred to as the "Address at Divinity College" delivered in 1838 to the graduating class of Cambridge Divinity College, aroused considerable controversy, because it attacked formal religion and argued for self-reliance and intuitive spiritual experience. Emerson went abroad in 1847 and lectured in England, where he was welcomed by Carlisle. Several of Emerson's lectures were later collected in the volume Representative Men (1850), a work reminiscent of Carlisle's Heroes and Hero-Worship (1840). Emerson's visit abroad produced a brilliant travel book, English Traits (1856). His Journals give evidence of his growing interest in national issues; on his return to America he became active in the abolitionist cause, delivering many antislavery speeches. The Conduct of Life (1860) was the first of his books to enjoy immediate popularity. This was followed by a collection of poems entitled May Day and Other Pieces (1867). Emerson died in Concord on April 27, 1882.

MODEL: It beats us. There seems nothing imitable, or inimatable either, for that matter, about this guy. He seems like the coldest of cold fish.

Your Birthday Today:

May 25
Day of the Bold

Visionary, Durable,

Judgmental, Impractical, Narrow

Champion of the cause. If you were born on May 25, you are a fighter, defender of family, country or an ideal. That is not to say you are conservative or behind the times in your beliefs. You have your finger on the pulse of the world and are able to roll with the social changes. Ruled by the number 7 and the planet Neptune, you enjoy a change of scenery.

A believer. Friends and family find you easy-going, until certain topics are brought up. When it comes to your opinions, you will never compromise, even if it means losing friends. You enjoy all material things like money, clothes and toys, but realize they only scratch the surface of a full life. More serio us issues, such as political and personal freedom, are a priority for you.

Code of conduct. A philosopher, you have your own belief system and set high standards for conduct. Unfortunately, you want everyone else to live by these rules, too. You can be very stern with those who lack discipline, honor and responsibility. You must learn to be forgiving and tolerant to others.

An emotional brick. Your emotional side may be a bit blocked, perhaps from a trauma in childhood. Sure, you enjoy affection but find it difficult to offer and accept. Since you don't trust yourself, you rarely trust others. Your performance in art, sport, work, and even sex is technically perfect but lacks feeling. You have cool Clint Eastwood personality that doesn't allow much emotion to escape.

Here's some advice: Be more forgiving and less judgmental. Think things out before leaping ahead and beware of rash or angry decisions. Warm up a little. Being cool can freeze you out of much happiness in life. It's OK to be emotionally open at times.

Also born on this day: Miles Davis (jazz trumpeter, innovator, composer) Beverly Sills (operatic soprano) Robert Ludlum (writer) Ralph Waldo Emerson (transcendentalist poet, philosopher) Bennet Cerf (publisher, editor) Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (tap dancer, actor) Sir Ian McKlellan (British actor, gay rights activist) Gene Tunney (heavyweight boxing champ) John Fairbanks (historian, writer, Chinese scholar) Lindsey Nelson (radio, TV commentator) Mary Wells Lawrence (advertising executive).