Ralph Waldo Emerson s poem, Each and All is a work that correlates and examines the relationships between various animate, and inanimate objects that exist on different levels of life. In order to modify and emphasize his points and ideas Emerson uses a variety of techniques, both conventional and unconventional poetic devices. Each and All is a poem that organizes and puts into perspective all aspects of life, including his own, while creating a unifying theme between beauty, truth, and spirituality. Due to the inconsistent patterns that exist throughout the lines it becomes evident within the structure of this particular work that Emerson has no distinctive style. Emerson s use of rhyme within this poem varies from the rhymed couplet to a split couplet, inversion, slant rhyme, no rhyme or blank verse, and enjambment. Inversion and enjambment occur in this in poem in lines 1 and 2 where Emerson says, Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown, Of the from the hill top looking down.
In lines 1-12 of the poem we witness Emerson s use of the rhymed couplet, AABBCCDD, etc, which remains consistent until lines 13-16 and 38-44 where we witness an unexpected change in the rhyme scheme, or split couplets. Line 13 begins G in our pattern of rhyme however, proceeding this begins H then G, and finally H to complete this inconsistency that can also be looked at as an A BAB rhyme pattern within a pattern of rhymed couplets. Emerson also uses slant rhyme in his poetry to create the consistent pattern of the couplets. Words such as: shore / uproar , hermitage / cage , wreath / breath , attire / choir , etc. There are even examples of blank verse in this work in lines 19, and 45-47. In line 19 the word shore has no word preceding or proceeding it that rhymes with it.
Also, in lines 45-47, the words ground, sky, and deity rhyme with nothing before or after it. The inconsistencies and varying patterns of this poem communicate not only a lack of form and continuity, but also an abruptness in the transition of Emerson s ideas. Also, as one reads the poem a sense of ascension is met in the lines as Emerson relates objects in an order of progression or evolution. Throughout Each and All Emerson examines the relationships between objects and their surroundings which lead him to his first moment of sublime and transition to the beauty of connection. Emerson observes the red cloaked clown and the hilltop from which he looks down, the heifers that low in the upland farm, the sexton that tolls the bell that great Napoleon stops to listen to with delight, etc. In lines 11 and 12 Emerson says, All are needed by each one; Nothing is fair or good alone this quote solidifies the liquid comparisons made by Emerson preceding this quote.
The ideas explicated by this quote also promote a sense of unity amongst the constituents of each instance. Emerson s moment of sublime also forces him to venture further into his analysis of the beauty of the connections he had observed. Through his analysis Emerson begins to clarify his definition of beauty in exemplifying that the beauty of which he speaks has to do with completion, and the connection of everything. For example, the ear and sound, the eye and sight, the connection of the sparrow to its nest, the sky and river, the sea shells to the shore, bubbles, waves, and pearls, chastity and marriage, and the virgin s train to the snow-white choir. After exhausting himself with his analysis of beauty and reaching the conclusion that it is temporary, Emerson comes to his third and final catharsis of truth. Emerson says, in lines 38-41, Then I said, I covet truth; Beauty is unripe childhoods cheat; I leave it behind with the games of youth: - As I spoke, beneath my feet.
However, from lines 44 to the end Emerson revisits the beauty of nature and unites it with truth, making the connection and completion of the two. This connection then furthers the ascension of his poetry leading him to the superior, eternal, truth of God. Emerson says, Around me stood the oaks and firs; Pine-cones and acorns lay on the ground; Over me soared the external sky, Full of light and deity Beauty through my senses stole; I yielded myself to the perfect whole. Emerson s unconventional and undefined style of poetry writing proves to be conducive to his thought process. When he makes the transitions from one idea to another the poem parallels this change by breaking the consistent rhythmic pattern with an inconsistent one.
The incoherence of the rhythmic pattern occurs so unexpectedly the reader is forced to acknowledge the idea that is communicated in it. Emerson produces the feeling of progression and ascension in his poetry through the rhymed couplets, which symbolize his onward steps toward seeking the knowledge of God, the perfect whole.