Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
 
V. Appendix
Music
 
LET me go where’er I will,
I hear a sky-born music still:
It sounds from all things old,
It sounds from all things young,
From all that ’s fair, from all that ’s foul,        5
Peals out a cheerful song.
 
It is not only in the rose,
It is not only in the bird,
Not only where the rainbow glows,
Nor in the song of woman heard,        10
But in the darkest, meanest things
There alway, alway something sings.
 
’T is not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cup of budding flowers,
Nor in the redbreast’s mellow tone,        15
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers,
But in the mud and scum of things
There alway, alway something sings. 1
 
Note 1. The present editor obtained Mr. Cabot’s permission to include this among the minor poems in the Appendix to the posthumous edition of the Works in 1883, even though Dr. Holmes made some protest against allowing the “mud and scum of things” to have a voice. At the celebration of the recent centenary of Mr. Emerson’s birth, it was pleasant to see that the poem had become a favorite, even with children, and was often quoted. [back]
 
 
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