The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If I love you, what is that to you? We say so because we feel that what we love is not in your will, but above it. It is not you, but your radience. It is that which you know not in yourself and can never know.
If however, from too much conversing with material objects, the soul was gross, and misplaced its satisfaction in the body, it reaped nothing but sorrow; body being unable to fulfil the promise which beauty holds out; but if accepting the hint of these visions and suggestions which beauty makes to his mind, the soul passes through the body and falls to admire strokes of character, and the lovers contemplate one another in their discourses and their actions, then they pass to the true palace of beauty, more and more inflame their love of it, and by this love extinguishing the base affection, as the Sun puts out fire by shining on the hearth, they become pure and hallowed.
By conversation with that which is in itself excellent, magnanimous, lowly, and just, the lover comes to a quicker apprehension of them in one to loving them in all, and so is the one beautiful soul only the door through which he enters to the society of all true and pure souls. In the particular society of his mate he attains a clearer sight of Any spot, any taint which her beauty has contracted from this World, and is able to point it out, and this with mutual joy that they are now able, without offence, to indicate blemishes and hindrances in each other, and give to each all help and comfort in curing the same. And beholding in many souls the traits of the divine beauty, to the love and knowledge of the divinity, by steps on this ladder of created souls.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson