Fable – The Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel;
And the former called the latter ‘Little Prig.’
‘You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together,
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I’m not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.
I’ll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut.’
What is Fable Poetry?
A fable is a poetic story composed in verse or prose with a moral summed up or a pedagogical point at the end. Usually using animals as characters to teach a valuable lesson.
Aesop and la Fontaine are perhaps the most famous fable-writers.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), who went by his middle name Waldo, was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of transcendentalism in his 1836 essay “Nature”. Following this work, he gave a speech entitled “The American Scholar” in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. considered to be America’s “intellectual Declaration of Independence.”
To read more about Ralph Waldo Emerson, click here.
Fable – Poem Analysis
Fable by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a beautiful poem that everyone, whether it’s someone big or someone small, has its own importance.
This poem starts with a fight between a big mountain and a little squirrel. The mountain, due to its enormous size has a huge ego. But the little squirrel teaches it a lesson by making him understand the little but difficult things (like cracking a nut), that it can do but the mountain can’t.
It is a small poem with a beautifully put-together Rhyming structure.
To read about more poetic forms and devices, click here.