Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Poet Lover

It is believed that poets and writers are passionate lovers. They are also supposed to eccentric. With the combination of these two qualities, there is no doubt that their expression of love can cross all boundaries.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was so much in love of his first wife that he never got over her death.


Ralph and Ellen Tucker met on Christmas day in 1827. They married when Ellen turned 18, but the marriage lasted a very short time. Soon, Ellen fell sick with tuberculosis. Within just 17 months of marriage, Ellen died at the age of 20. Her last words were, “I have not forgot the peace and joy.”

Her death affected Emerson greatly. He visited her grave every day. In a journal entry dated March 29, 1832, Emerson wrote, “I visited Ellen’s tomb and opened the coffin.”

ellen tucker





Here are some journal entries on Ellen that Emerson made:

I have now been four days engaged to Ellen Louisa Tucker. Will my Father in Heaven regard us with kindness, and as he hath, as we trust, made us for each other, will he be pleased to strengthen & purify & prosper & eternize our affection! Sunday Morning.
— Journal, Dec. 21, 1828, Concord, N.H.


She has the purity & confiding religion of an angel. Are the words common? the words are true. Will God forgive me my sins & aid me to deserve this gift of his mercy. (Jan. 17, 1829)

Oh Ellen, I do dearly love you— (July 21, 1829)

Ellen Tucker Emerson died 8th February. Tuesday morning. 9 o’clock. [Feb. 8, 1831]

Five days are wasted since Ellen went to heaven to see, to know, to worship, to love, to intercede. God be merciful to me a sinner & repair this miserable debility in which her death has left my soul… Pray for me Ellen & raise the friend you so truly loved, to be what you thought him… Dear Ellen shall we not be united even now more & more, as I more steadfastly persist in the love of truth & virtue which you loved? Spirits are not deceived & now you know the sins & selfishness which the husband would fain have concealed from the confiding wife— help me to be rid of them; suggest good thoughts as you promised me, & lead me upward. Reunite us, o thou Father of our Spirits.  (February 13, 1831)


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