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Poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes


The Last Leaf


I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters oer the ground
With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of Time
Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round
Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And looks at all he meets
Sad and wan,
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
They are gone.

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has prest
In their bloom,
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said
Poor old lady, she is dead
Long ago
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow;

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff,
And a crook is in his back,
And a melancholy crack
In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.

1836

Oliver Wendell Holmes


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


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Thomas Hardy The Last Leaf ("The leaves throng thick above")
  • Joanna Baillie The Last Leaf ("THOU last pale relic from yon widow'd tree")

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