Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
II. May-Day and Other Pieces
Nature II
SHE 1 is gamesome and good,
But of mutable mood,—
No dreary repeater now and again,
She will be all things to all men.
She who is old, but nowise feeble,        5
Pours her power into the people,
Merry and manifold without bar,
Makes and moulds them what they are,
And what they call their city way
Is not their way, but hers,        10
And what they say they made to-day,
They learned of the oaks and firs.
She spawneth men as mallows fresh,
Hero and maiden, flesh of her flesh;
She drugs her water and her wheat        15
With the flavors she finds meet,
And gives them what to drink and eat;
And having thus their bread and growth,
They do her bidding, nothing loath.
What ’s most theirs is not their own,        20
But borrowed in atoms from iron and stone,
And in their vaunted works of Art
The master-stroke is still her part. 2
Note 1. In one of the earlier verse-books the lines called “The Walk,” printed in the Appendix, served for the second division of the poem, and there was a third, which Mr. Emerson took for the motto to “Fate,” in Conduct of Life, beginning,—
  Delicate omens traced in air
To the lone bard true witness bare.
Note 2. The thought here expressed is found in the essay “Art,” in Society and Solitude. [back]

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