There is a very subtle piece of wordplay with the final two words of the poem, “Rose ordained”. Usually when we think of the word ordain we are reminded of a priest taking the holy orders, but to ordain also means “to put in order, arrange, or prepare” (OED), in other words, to put in rows. Hence there is a “Rose” / rows connection, but also if we think back to her previous poems where she equates the journey of life with being in a boat (perhaps a rowboat) then she is getting triple mileage from just these two words.
The poem begins with her equating “Gralands” and “Laurels” as being reserved for “Queens” and those who hold “rare degree” (high society, and ever perhaps martyred saints if we read the line “soul and sword” in that context). These are people of great distinction, the 1% who who awarded the highest honors humanity can bestow upon itself. These are people who will long be remembered down through posterity, have books written about them, and be immortalized in marble and bronze.
Yet in line four (and five) she uses the word “ah” to describe her realization that to be remembered does not require such grand gestures, nor is being remembered reserved only for “Queens” and those who hold “rare degree”. “Me” and “thee” also are worthy of remembrance – in fact she is saying we are no worse or better than the 1% because we are all recognized by “Nature” as being children of nature and nature has bestowed upon us the same capacity for “chilvary”, “charity” and, most importantly, “equity”.
Thus her wordplay reveals that she not only ordains a simple person with a “Rose” the way “Queens” would be decked with “Garlands” but that “Nature” has made us all equal (“equity”) and that we are all ordered in the same rows. We are grown like flowers in a garden and we thrive alike in our little rows. No “Rose” is more important than any other “Rose” because nature will care for us equally and none of us shall be forgotten because we are all a part of nature. Nature is chivalrous in that it is the universal code of conduct, and it is charitable in that it cares for the smallest flower the same as the greatest oak, and it is equitable because it does not discriminate. There is no 1% in nature because all things in nature are equal. Some creatures may be more successful than others, but nature loves them all the same.
Thus we live within the rows that nature has given us and if we consider Emily’s metaphor of the boat being the journey of life, then she is equating each person’s voyage as they row as being equal to everyone else’s voyage. We all have the same opportunity in nature’s eyes to thrive and thus we can each be of “rare degree” if we dare to row hard enough. Nothing separates us from a “Queen” because the “Queen” is in the same boat / row as us. “Garlands” might be for “Queens”, but only “may be” (as in maybe).