The Rhodora

Original Text: 
Poems< (1846: London: Chapman, 1847). PS 1624 .A1 Robarts Library
On Being Asked, Whence Is the Flower?
2I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
3Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
4To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
5The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
6Made the black water with their beauty gay;
7Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
8And court the flower that cheapens his array.
9Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
10This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
11Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
12Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
13Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
14I never thought to ask, I never knew;
15But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
16The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.


1] rhodora: flowering scrub common to Canada and New England, Rhododendron canadense. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: