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The Rhodora
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leading American lecturer, poet and essayist. Works include two volumes of essays (1841 and 1844), poems (1847) and numerous individual pieces including the famous essays Nature (1836) showing the natural world with its function to excite the intuition, The American Scholar (1837), Self Reliance (1844) which challenges readers to seek their own truths and the poem Terminus (1866). Emerson was a leading exponent of New England Transcendentalism and Romanticism and a strong influence on Walt Whitman and Emily Dickenson.


The Rhodora
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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,
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,
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
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.


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