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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,
Made the black eater with their beauty gay;
Here might the redbird 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 went there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, supposed
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.