Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
 
I. Poems
The Violet
 
By Ellen Louisa Tucker

WHY 1 lingerest thou, pale violet, to see the dying year;
Are Autumn’s blasts fit music for thee, fragile one, to hear;
Will thy clear blue eye, upward bent, still keep its chastened glow,
Still tearless lift its slender form above the wintry snow?
 
Why wilt thou live when none around reflects thy pensive ray?        5
Thou bloomest here a lonely thing in the clear autumn day.
The tall green trees, that shelter thee, their last gay dress put on;
There will be nought to shelter thee when their sweet leaves are gone.
 
O Violet, like thee, how blest could I lie down and die,
When summer light is fading, and autumn breezes sigh;        10
When Winter reigned I ’d close my eye, but wake with bursting Spring,
And live with living nature, a pure rejoicing thing.
 
I had a sister once who seemed just like a violet;
Her morning sun shone bright and calmly purely set;
When the violets were in their shrouds, and Summer in its pride,        15
She laid her hopes at rest, and in the year’s rich beauty died.
 
Note 1. One other poem by Ellen Tucker, printed by Mr. Emerson in the Dial in January, 1841, seems a fitting and a pleasant addition to this group. [back]
 
 
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