Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1803–1882
39. The Humble-Bee
BURLY, dozing humble-bee, 
Where thou art is clime for me. 
Let them sail for Porto Rique, 
Far-off heats through seas to seek; 
I will follow thee alone,         5
Thou animated torrid-zone! 
Zigzag steerer, desert cheerer, 
Let me chase thy waving lines; 
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer, 
Singing over shrubs and vines.  10
Insect lover of the sun, 
Joy of thy dominion! 
Sailor of the atmosphere; 
Swimmer through the waves of air; 
Voyager of light and noon;  15
Epicurean of June; 
Wait, I prithee, till I come 
Within earshot of thy hum,— 
All without is martyrdom. 
When the south wind, in May days,  20
With a net of shining haze 
Silvers the horizon wall, 
And, with softness touching all, 
Tints the human countenance 
With a color of romance,  25
And, infusing subtle heats, 
Turns the sod to violets, 
Thou, in sunny solitudes, 
Rover of the underwoods, 
The green silence dost displace  30
With thy mellow, breezy bass. 
Hot midsummer's petted crone, 
Sweet to me thy drowsy tone 
Tells of countless sunny hours, 
Long days, and solid banks of flowers;  35
Of gulfs of sweetness without bound 
In Indian wildernesses found; 
Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure, 
Firmest cheer, and bird-like pleasure. 
Aught unsavory or unclean  40
Hath my insect never seen; 
But violets and bilberry bells, 
Maple-sap, and daffodels, 
Grass with green flag half-mast high, 
Succory to match the sky,  45
Columbine with horn of honey, 
Scented fern, and agrimony, 
Clover, catchfly, adder's-tongue 
And brier-roses, dwelt among; 
All beside was unknown waste,  50
All was picture as he passed. 
Wiser far than human seer, 
Yellow-breeched philosopher! 
Seeing only what is fair, 
Sipping only what is sweet,  55
Thou dost mock at fate and care, 
Leave the chaff, and take the wheat. 
When the fierce northwestern blast 
Cools sea and land so far and fast, 
Thou already slumberest deep;  60
Woe and want thou canst outsleep; 
Want and woe, which torture us, 
Thy sleep makes ridiculous. 

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