(Article/content is below...)

The Rhodora by Ralph Waldo Emerson


"The Rhodora" is a poem written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. A "rhodora" is a type of shrub that has red flowers. Emerson speaks of how, in May, he went out to the desert and found a beautiful flower. Some of the petals fell into muddy water, but it still looked beautiful and thought it would be a great place for birds to come. He then asks why don't people consider the rhodora as beautiful as a rose?

"The Rhodora" is a poem of only one stanza with sixteen lines (the first line isn't part of the poem). The rhyme scheme is AABBCDCDEEFFGHGH. Obviously, "solitudes" and "woods" is an imperfect rhyme.


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 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

Next: The Snow-Storm
Recommended Content
Find out more information about this poem and read others like it.


Literary Movement
Transcendentalism, 19th Century

Nature, Flower

Last update: