Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
I. Poems
To Ellen at the South
THE GREEN 1 grass is bowing,
  The morning wind is in it;
’T is a tune worth thy knowing,
  Though it change every minute.
’T is a tune of the Spring;        5
  Every year plays it over
To the robin on the wing,
  And to the pausing lover.
O’er ten thousand, thousand acres,
  Goes light the nimble zephyr;        10
The Flowers—tiny sect of Shakers—
  Worship him ever.
Hark to the winning sound!
  They summon thee, dearest,—
Saying, ‘We have dressed for thee the ground,        15
  Nor yet thou appearest.
‘O hasten;’ ’t is our time,
  Ere yet the red Summer
Scorch our delicate prime,
  Loved of bee,—the tawny hummer.        20
‘O pride of thy race!
  Sad, in sooth, it were to ours,
If our brief tribe miss thy face,
  We poor New England flowers.
‘Fairest, choose the fairest members        25
  Of our lithe society;
June’s glories and September’s
  Show our love and piety.
‘Thou shalt command us all,—
  April’s cowslip, summer’s clover,        30
To the gentian in the fall,
  Blue-eyed pet of blue-eyed lover.
‘O come, then, quickly come!
  We are budding, we are blowing;
And the wind that we perfume        35
  Sings a tune that ’s worth the knowing.’
Note 1. In December, 1827, Mr. Emerson first saw Ellen Tucker, while preaching at Concord, New Hampshire. Just a year later they were engaged to one another. She was very young, but a person of great beauty and refinement. A month after their betrothal, signs of consumption appeared, and her family carried her southward in the spring. Mr. Emerson wrote above this poem, “To E. T. E. at Philadelphia, April, 1829,” although they were not married until September of that year. So the initials should have been E. L. T. In spite of her delicate health they had great happiness in the year and a half of life together that was granted them.
  Mr. Emerson printed this poem in the Dial for January, 1843, under the title, “To Eva at the South,” but in the first edition of his Poems he restored the name of Ellen. [back]

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