BK American Lit. Reading Group discussion

The poetical works of Oliver Wendall Holmes

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message 1: by Jordan (new)

Jordan St. Stier | 71 comments Mod
This is about the poetry of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., not to be confused with his son, the Supreme Court Associate Justice (and acting Chief Justice) Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

message 2: by Jordan (last edited May 01, 2019 03:35PM) (new)

Jordan St. Stier | 71 comments Mod
Old Ironsides

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon’s roar;—
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more!

Her deck, once red with heroes’ blood
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o’er the flood
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor’s tread,
Or know the conquered knee;—
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

O, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every thread-bare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,—
The lightning and the gale!

message 3: by Jordan (new)

Jordan St. Stier | 71 comments Mod
Old Ironsides is the U.S.S. Constitution, famous for its battles during the 1812, most notably with the HMS Guerriere, in which the cannon fire from the HMS bounced off the ship's sides (earning its name 'Ironsides'), the ship sided up to the Guerriere, and shot down the masts and tore apart the ship, earning it fame. This poem, when published, saved the Constitution from being scrapped, and now it sits in Boston Harbor as a national park.

message 4: by Jordan (new)

Jordan St. Stier | 71 comments Mod
Daily Trials by a Sensitive Man

Oh, there are times
When all this fret and tumult that we hear
Do seem more stale than to the sexton’s ear
His own dull chimes.

Ding dong! ding dong!
The world is in a simmer like a sea
Over a pent volcano,—woe is me
All the day long!

From crib to shroud!
Nurse o’er our cradles screameth lullaby,
And friends in boots tramp round us as we die,
Snuffling aloud.

At morning’s call
The small-voiced pug-dog welcomes in the sun,
And flea-bit mongrels, wakening one by one,
Give answer all.

When evening dim
Draws round us, then the lonely caterwaul,
Tart solo, sour duet, and general squall,—
These are our hymn.

Women, with tongues
Like polar needles, ever on the jar;
Men, plugless word-spouts, whose deep fountains are
Within their lungs.

Children, with drums
Strapped round them by the fond paternal ass;
Peripatetics with a blade of grass
Between their thumbs.

Vagrants, whose arts
Have caged some devil in their mad machine,
Which grinding, squeaks, with husky groans between,
Come out by starts.

Cockneys that kill
Thin horses of a Sunday,—men, with clams,
Hoarse as young bisons roaring for their dams
From hill to hill.

Soldiers, with guns,
Making a nuisance of the blessed air,
Child-crying bellman, children in despair,
Screeching for buns.

Storms, thunders, waves!
Howl, crash, and bellow till ye get your fill;
Ye sometimes rest; men never can be still
But in their graves.

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