Tribute To Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thou metamorphic god!
Who mak'st the straight Olympus thy abode,
Hermes to subtle laughter moving,
Apollo with serener loving,
Thou demi-god also!
Who dost all the powers of healing know;
Thou hero who dost wield
The golden sword and shield,--
Shield of a comprehensive mind,
And sword to wound the foes of human kind;

Thou man of noble mould!
Whose metal grows not cold
Beneath the hammer of the hurrying years;
A fiery breath doth blow
Across its fervid glow,
And still its resonance delights our ears;

Loved of thy brilliant mates,
Relinquished to the fates,
Whose spirit music used to chime with thine,
Transfigured in our sight,
Not quenched in death's dark night,
They hold thee in companionship divine.

O autocratic muse!
Soul-rainbow of all hues,
Packed full of service are thy bygone years;
Thy winged steed doth fly
Across the starry sky,
Bearing the lowly burthens of thy tears.

I try this little leap,
Wishing that from the deep,
I might some pearl of song adventurous bring.
Despairing, here I stop,
And my poor offering drop,--
Why stammer I when thou art here to sing?

Do not tie my wings,
Says the honey-bee;
Do not bind my wings,
Leave them glad and free.
If I fly abroad,
If I keep afar,
Humming all the day,
Where wild blossoms are,
'Tis to bring you sweets,
Rich as summer joy,
Clear--as gold and glass;
The divinest toy
That the god's have left,
Is the pretty hive,
Where a maiden reigns,
And the busy thrive.

If you bar my way,
Your delight is gone,
No more honey-gems;
From the heather borne;
No more tiny thefts,
From your neighbor's rose,
Who were glad to guess
Where its sweetness goes.

Let the man of arts
Ply his plane and glass;
Let the vapors rise,
Let the liquor pass;
Let the dusky slave
Till the southern fields;
Not the task of both
Such a treasure yields;
Honey, Pan ordained,
Food for gods and men,
Only in my way
Shall you store again.

Leave me to my will
While the bright days glow,
While the sleepy flowers
Quicken as I go.
When the pretty ones
Look to me no more,
Dead, beneath your feet,
Crushed and dabbled o'er;
In my narrow cell
I will fold my wing;
Sink in dark and chill,
A forgotten thing.

Can you read the song
Of the suppliant bee?
'Tis a poet's soul,
Asking liberty.

Ordering an Essay Online