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Short poem

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


              1The lords of life, the lords of life,---
              2I saw them pass,
              3In their own guise,
              4Like and unlike,
              5Portly and grim, --
              6Use and Surprise,
              7Surface and Dream,
              8Succession swift and spectral Wrong,
              9Temperament without a tongue,
            10And the inventor of the game
            11Omnipresent without name; --
            12Some to see, some to be guessed,
            13They marched from east to west:
            14Little man, least of all,
            15Among the legs of his guardians tall,
            16Walked about with puzzled look.
            17Him by the hand dear Nature took,
            18Dearest Nature, strong and kind,
            19Whispered, "Darling, never mind!
            20To-morrow they will wear another face,
            21The founder thou; these are thy race!"

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: May-day and Other Pieces (London: G. Routledge, 1867) PS 1624 .M3 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1844
Publication date note: Epigraph for an essay with the same title in Essays: Second Series (1844).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/12/24

Rhyme: irregularly rhyming

Other poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson