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Oliver Wendell Holmes Poems

A collection of select Oliver Wendell Holmes famous poems that were written by Oliver Wendell Holmes or written about the poet by other famous poets. PoetrySoup is a comprehensive educational resource of the greatest poems and poets on history.

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by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
I saw him once before, 
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of...Read More



by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 YES, write, if you want to, there's nothing like trying;
Who knows what a treasure your casket may hold?
I'll show you that rhyming's as easy as lying,
If you'll listen to...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 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...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 "Man wants but little here below."



LITTLE I ask; my wants are few;
I only wish a hut of stone,
(A very plain brown stone will do,)
That I may call my own;
And...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 WHERE is this patriarch you are kindly greeting?
Not unfamiliar to my ear his name,
Nor yet unknown to many a joyous meeting
In days long vanished,-- is he still the same,

Or...Read More



by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 I love all sights of earth and skies, 
From flowers that glow to stars that shine; 
The comet and the penny show, 
All curious things, above, below, 
Hold each...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 I WROTE some lines once on a time 
In wondrous merry mood, 
And thought, as usual, men would say
They were exceeding good.

They were so queer, so very queer, 
I...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 I'M not a chicken; I have seen 
Full many a chill September, 
And though I was a youngster then, 
That gale I well remember; 
The day before, my kite-string...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 As I look from the isle, o'er its billows of green,
To the billows of foam-crested blue,
Yon bark, that afar in the distance is seen,
Half dreaming, my eyes will pursue:
Now...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 HAS there any old fellow got mixed with the boys?
If there has, take him out, without making a noise.
Hang the Almanac's cheat and the Catalogue's spite!
Old Time is a...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 THROUGH my north window, in the wintry weather,--
My airy oriel on the river shore,--
I watch the sea-fowl as they flock together
Where late the boatman flashed his dripping oar.

The gull,...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay, 
That was built in such a logical way
It ran a hundred years to a day,
And then, of a sudden, it --...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 OH for one hour of youthful joy!
Give back my twentieth spring!
I'd rather laugh, a bright-haired boy,
Than reign, a gray-beard king.

Off with the spoils of wrinkled age!
Away with Learning's crown!
Tear...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 THIS is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main,--
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And...Read More

by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
 THERE was a giant in time of old,
A mighty one was he; 
He had a wife, but she was a scold, 
So he kept her shut in his mammoth...Read More