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Best Famous Oliver Wendell Holmes Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Oliver Wendell Holmes poems. This is a select list of the best famous Oliver Wendell Holmes poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Oliver Wendell Holmes poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Oliver Wendell Holmes poems.

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by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

The Two Streams

 Behold the rocky wall 
That down its sloping sides 
Pours the swift rain-drops, blending, as they fall, 
In rushing river-tides! 
Yon stream, whose sources run 
Turned by a pebble's edge, 
Is Athabasca, rolling toward the sun 
Through the cleft mountain-ledge.
The slender rill had strayed, But for the slanting stone, To evening's ocean, with the tangled braid Of foam-flecked Oregon.
So from the heights of Will Life's parting stream descends, And, as a moment turns its slender rill, Each widening torrent bends, -- From the same cradle's side, From the same mother's knee, -- One to long darkness and the frozen tide, One to the Peaceful Sea!


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

A Parody on “A Psalm of Life”

 Life is real, life is earnest, 
And the shell is not its pen –
“Egg thou art, and egg remainest”
Was not spoken of the hen.
Art is long and Time is fleeting, Be our bills then sharpened well, And not like muffled drums be beating On the inside of the shell.
In the world’s broad field of battle, In the great barnyard of life, Be not like those lazy cattle! Be a rooster in the strife! Lives of roosters all remind us, We can make our lives sublime, And when roasted, leave behind us, Hen tracks on the sands of time.
Hen tracks that perhaps another Chicken drooping in the rain, Some forlorn and henpecked brother, When he sees, shall crow again.


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

Old Ironsides

 Ay, tear her tattered ensign down! 
Long has it waved on high, 
And many an eye has danced to see 
That banner in the sky; 
Beneath it rung the battle shout, 
And burst the cannon's roar; -- 
The meteor of the ocean air 
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood, Where knelt the vanquished foe, When winds were hurrying o'er the flood, And waves were white below, No more shall feel the victor's tread, Or know the conquered knee; -- The harpies of the shore shall pluck The eagle of the sea! Oh, better that her shattered hulk Should sink beneath the wave; Her thunders shook the mighty deep, And there should be her grave; Nail to the mast her holy flag, Set every threadbare sail, And give her to the god of storms, The lightning and the gale!


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

The Voiceless

 WE count the broken lyres that rest
Where the sweet wailing singers slumber,
But o'er their silent sister's breast
The wild-flowers who will stoop to number?
A few can touch the magic string,
And noisy Fame is proud to win them:--
Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them!

Nay, grieve not for the dead alone
Whose song has told their hearts' sad story,--
Weep for the voiceless, who have known
The cross without the crown of glory!
Not where Leucadian breezes sweep
O'er Sappho's memory-haunted billow,
But where the glistening night-dews weep
On nameless sorrow's churchyard pillow.
O hearts that break and give no sign Save whitening lip and fading tresses, Till Death pours out his longed-for wine Slow-dropped from Misery's crushing presses,-- If singing breath or echoing chord To every hidden pang were given, What endless melodies were poured, As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven!


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

Martha

 SEXTON! Martha's dead and gone;
Toll the bell! toll the bell!
Her weary hands their labor cease;
Good night, poor Martha,-- sleep in peace!
Toll the bell!

Sexton! Martha 's dead and gone;
Toll the bell! toll the bell!
For many a year has Martha said,
"I'm old and poor,-- would I were dead!"
Toll the bell!

Sexton! Martha's dead and gone;
Toll the bell! toll the bell!
She'll bring no more, by day or night,
Her basket full of linen white.
Toll the bell! Sexton! Martha's dead and gone; Toll the bell! toll the bell! 'Tis fitting she should lie below A pure white sheet of drifted snow.
Toll the bell! Sexton! Martha's dead and gone; Toll the bell! toll the bell! Sleep, Martha, sleep, to wake in light, Where all the robes are stainless white.
Toll the bell!


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

Cacoethes Scribendi

 If all the trees in all the woods were men; 
And each and every blade of grass a pen; 
If every leaf on every shrub and tree 
Turned to a sheet of foolscap; every sea 
Were changed to ink, and all earth's living tribes 
Had nothing else to do but act as scribes, 
And for ten thousand ages, day and night, 
The human race should write, and write, and write, 
Till all the pens and paper were used up, 
And the huge inkstand was an empty cup, 
Still would the scribblers clustered round its brink 
Call for more pens, more paper, and more ink.


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

Æstivation

 An Unpublished Poem, by my late Latin Tutor.
In candent ire the solar splendor flames; The foles, languescent, pend from arid rames; His humid front the cive, anheling, wipes, And dreams of erring on ventiferous ripes.
How dulce to vive occult to mortal eyes, Dorm on the herb with none to supervise, Carp the suave berries from thc crescent vine, And bibe the flow from longicaudate kine! To me, alas! no verdurous visions come, Save yon exiguous pool's conferva-scum,-- No concave vast repeats the tender hue That laves my milk-jug with celestial blue! Me wretched! Let me curr to quercine shades! Effund your albid hausts, lactiferous maids! Oh, might I vole to some umbrageous clump,-- Depart,--be off,-excede,--evade,--crump!