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Poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes


Lines


RECITED AT THE BERKSHIRE JUBILEE, PITTSFIELD, MASS., 
AUGUST 23, 1844

COME back to your mother, ye children, for shame,
Who have wandered like truants for riches or fame!
With a smile on her face, and a sprig in her cap,
She calls you to feast from her bountiful lap.

Come out from your alleys, your courts, and your lanes,
And breathe, like young eagles, the air of our plains;
Take a whiff from our fields, and your excellent wives
Will declare it 's all nonsense insuring your lives.

Come you of the law, who can talk, if you please,
Till the man in the moon will allow it's a cheese,
And leave "the old lady, that never tells lies,"
To sleep with her handkerchief over her eyes.

Ye healers of men, for a moment decline
Your feats in the rhubarb and ipecac line;
While you shut up your turnpike, your neighbors can go
The old roundabout road to the regions below.

You clerk, on whose ears are a couple of pens,
And whose head is an ant-hill of units and tens,
Though Plato denies you, we welcome you still
As a featherless biped, in spite of your quill.

Poor drudge of the city! how happy he feels,
With the burs on his legs and the grass at his heels
No dodger behind, his bandannas to share,
No constable grumbling, "You must n't walk there!"

In yonder green meadow, to memory dear,
He slaps a mosquito and brushes a tear;
The dew-drops hang round him on blossoms and shoots,
He breathes but one sigh for his youth and his boots.

There stands the old school-house, hard by the old church;
That tree at its side had the flavor of birch;
Oh, sweet were the days of his juvenile tricks,
Though the prairie of youth had so many "big licks."

By the side of yon river he weeps and he slumps,
The boots fill with water, as if they were pumps,
Till, sated with rapture, he steals to his bed,
With a glow in his heart and a cold in his head.

'T is past,he is dreaming,I see him again;
The ledger returns as by legerdemain;
His neckcloth is damp with an easterly flaw,
And he holds in his fingers an omnibus straw.

He dreams the chill gust is a blossomy gale,
That the straw is a rose from his dear native vale;
And murmurs, unconscious of space and of time,
"A 1. Extra super. Ah, is n't it PRIME!"

Oh, what are the prizes we perish to win
To the first little "shiner" we caught with a pin!
No soil upon earth is so dear to our eyes
As the soil we first stirred in terrestrial pies!

Then come from all parties and parts to our feast;
Though not at the "Astor," we'll give you at least
A bite at an apple, a seat on the grass,
And the best of oldwaterat nothing a glass.



Oliver Wendell Holmes


Oliver Wendell Holmes's other poems:
  1. A Sentiment (A TRIPLE health to Friendship, Science, Art,)
  2. The Moral Bully
  3. Daily Trials
  4. The Stethoscope Song
  5. The Treadmill Song


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • John Keats Lines ("UNFELT unheard, unseen")
  • Thomas Hood Lines ("Let Us Make a Leap, My Dear")
  • Thomas Hardy Lines ("Before we part to alien thoughts and aims")
  • Samuel Johnson Lines ("Wheresoe'er I turn my view") 1777
  • Francis Thompson Lines ("O tree of many branches! One thou hast")
  • Robert Burns Lines ("I MURDER hate by field or flood") 1790
  • Joseph Drake Lines ("Day gradual fades, in evening gray")
  • George Morris Lines ("O Love! the mischief thou hast done!")
  • John Lockhart Lines ("When youthful faith hath fled")
  • Thomas Talfourd Lines ("HOW simple in their grandeur are the forms ")
  • John Reade Lines ("I KNELT down as I poured my spirit forth by that gray gate")

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