Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
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Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
 
Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1803–1882
 
38. The Rhodora
 
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. 
 
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