Ralph Waldo Emerson





Woodnotes I

For this present, hard
Is the fortune of the bard
Born out of time;
All his accomplishment
From nature's utmost treasure spent
Booteth not him.
When the pine tosses its cones
To the song of its waterfall tones,
He speeds to the woodland walks,
To birds and trees he talks.
Caesar of his leafy Rome,
There the poet is at home.
He goes to the riverside, -
Not hook nor line hath he:
He stands in the meadows wide, -
Nor gun nor scythe to see;
With none has he to do,
And none seek him,
Nor men below,
Nor spirits dim.
Sure some god his eye enchants,
What he knows, nobody wants.
In the wood he travels glad
Without better fortune had,
Melancholy without bad.
Planter of celestial plants,
What he knows, nobody wants, -
What he knows, he hides, not vaunts.

Knowledge this man prizes best
Seems fantastic to the rest,
Pondering shadows, colors, clouds,
Grass buds, and caterpillars' shrouds,
Boughs on which the wild bees settle,
Tints that spot the violet's petal,
Why nature loves the number five,
And why the star-form she repeats,
Lover of all things alive,
Wonderer at all he meets,
Wonderer chiefly at himself, -
Who can tell him what he is,
Or how meet in human elf
Coming and past eternities?