|Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:|
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. VIVIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 18351860
|By Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)|
[From Poems. Revised Edition. Edited by J. E. Cabot.
On Being Asked, Whence Is the Flower?
IN May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes
|I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,|
|Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,|
|To please the desert and the sluggish brook.|
|The purple petals, fallen in the pool,|| 5|
|Made the black water with their beauty gay;|
|Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,|
|And court the flower that cheapens his array.|
|Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why|
|This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,|| 10|
|Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,|
|Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:|
|Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!|
|I never thought to ask, I never knew:|
|But, in my simple ignorance, suppose|| 15|
|The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.|