Your picture smiles as first it smiled,
The ring you gave is still the same,
Your letter tells, O changing child,
No tidings since it came.

Give me an amulet
That keeps intelligence with you,
Red when you love, and rosier red,
And when you love not, pale and blue.

Alas, that neither bonds nor vows
Can certify possession;
Torments me still the fear that love
Died in its last expression.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem The Amulet


  1. melia says:

    I liked the poem and your comments helped me finish my project:)!

  2. ea says:

    This is a wonderful poem by Emerson and very modern in its approach — don’t you agree?

    The first stanza examines how mementos like photos and rings may not change and even the old lines in a letter (or poem) — you can almost trick yourself into beleiving they will preserve and protect your love for all time…

    The second stanza fascinates me in its non-traditional approach — contentwise, he’s asking for something like a “mood ring” so he can tell how she is feeling now that she has dropped her correspondance. He is pining for news of the beloved.

    Finally, in the last stanza, he despairs, knowing that the “keepsakes” do not keep (guarantee) anything and admits he is afraid he has lost her, which no doubt it true, if that’s what he feels.

    (btw, I like Robert Creeley’s poem entitled “Amulet” but it doesn’t hold a candle to this one, even though it rhymes. lol)

  3. estrella says:


  4. Taylor says:

    I think the poem has a lot of meaning to it. He is longing for a sense of love and wants something to remember it by. The Amulet is proof that he knows what is going on in his dear loved one’s heart.( i think) lol

  5. josh says:

    i though that this poem didn’t really have a good meaning to it but what i got out of it was that he wanted someone in his life

  6. Taylor says:

    The poem Amulet is a good poem I liked it i think it was good even though others don’t i do!

  7. Lacy says:

    I suppose for all of you that are wondering what this means…for whatever reason…here is my view. I think that the man is saying that he wants some kind of proof of love. He is in love with soemone who he hasn’t spoken to since he recieved a letter of some sort from her. He just wants a mutual feeling.

  8. lansolot says:

    i like aye

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