How is "Give All to Love" a characteristic Transcendental poem, apart from the fact that there is no rhythm?  

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Give All to Love" by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a characteristic Transcendental poem because it privileges love and inspiration above everything else. In the first stanza, the poet commands the reader to "obey thy heart" above everything else, including money, fame, plans, and other ideas. Transcendentalists such as Emerson believed, in a Romantic sense, in following one's own heart above the dictates of society, such as the need to make money, follow established paths, or cultivate fame.

In the second stanza, Emerson says that of one's heart "'tis a God." Transcendental ideas of religion believed that one's religious guidance came from within, not from established religion. In order to achieve the divine, one had to follow one's own inspiration. Following one's own path, however, requires "courage stout," as Transcendentalists believed that knowing and following one's own mind was essential but could be difficult in a world in which conformity is prized.

In the final two stanzas, Emerson says that while one must "Leave all for love," one must also let the other go free if that is her/his intent. One must let others follow their inner paths in Transcendentalist thought, and, in doing so, one will draw closer to what is divine. 

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