"All Mankind Love A Lover"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Emerson begins by describing the causes and effects of love, and then he goes on to describe the nature and significance of the emotion. Love is "a private and tender relation of one to one, which is the enchantment of human life; which, like a certain divine rage and enthusiasm, seizes on man at one period, and works a revolution in his mind and body; unites him to his race, pledges him to the domestic and civic relations, carries him with new sympathy into nature . . . and gives permanence to human society." Love thrives during "the heyday of the blood," but it "suffers no one who is truly its servant to grow old." Love is "a truth ever young and beautiful . . . It is the dawn of civility and grace in the coarse and rustic." No one, not even "the coldest philosopher," can ignore the beauty and holiness of love. "For persons are love's world," and we naturally take a deep interest in this intensely human emotion:

The strong bent of nature is seen in the proportion which this topic of personal relations usurps in the conversation of society. What do we wish to know of any worthy person so much as how he has sped in the history of this sentiment? What books in the circulating libraries circulate? How we glow over these novels of passion, when the story is told with any spark of truth and nature! And what fastens attention, in the intercourse of life, like any passage betraying affection between two parties? Perhaps we never saw them before, and never shall meet them again. But we see them exchange a glance, or betray a deep emotion, and we are no longer strangers. We understand them, and take the warmest interest in the development of the romance. All mankind love a lover. The earliest demonstrations of complacency and kindness are nature's most winning pictures. . . .