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Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

To the Poets
who only read and listen

By Oliver Wendell Holmes


WHEN evening's shadowy fingers fold
The flowers of every hue,
Some shy, half-opened bud will hold
Its drop of morning's dew.

Sweeter with every sunlit hour
The trembling sphere has grown,
Till all the fragrance of the flower
Becomes at last its own.

We that have sung perchance may find
Our little meed of praise,
And round our pallid temples bind
The wreath of fading bays:

Ah, Poet, who has never spent
Thy breath in idle strains,
For thee the dewdrop morning lent
Still in thy heart remains;

Unwasted, in its perfumed cell
It waits the evening gale;
Then to the azure whence it fell
Its lingering sweets exhale.