Rhodora by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Rhododendron are in bloom all over New England now. I don’t know how the Rhododendron in my yard are related to the Rhodora that the great man noticed growing wild. They must all be distant cousins, blooming in May.  The sage of Concord wrote,  Beauty is its own excuse for being.

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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