Emerson wrote this quote in an essay about friendship. The line that follows is, "Thine ever, or never." As a passionate, intellectual man, we see here in this quote a sharp tendency to state in no uncertain terms his intense feelings.
Emerson, in his essay "Gifts," talks about the alleged moral bankruptcy and general insolvency of people. He mentions different types of gifts and when people are generous. Ultimately, he concludes with the above quote.