'Poem (Halleck monument dedication)' by Oliver Wendell Holmes
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SAY not the Poet dies!
Though in the dust he lies,
He cannot forfeit his melodious breath,
Unsphered by envious death!
Life drops the voiceless myriads from its roll;
Their fate he cannot share,
Who, in the enchanted air
Sweet with the lingering strains that Echo stole,
Has left his dearer self, the music of his soul!
We o'er his turf may raise
Our notes of feeble praise,
And carve with pious care for after eyes
The stone with "Here he lies;"
He for himself has built a nobler shrine,
Whose walls of stately rhyme
Roll back the tides of time,
While o'er their gates the gleaming tablets shine
That wear his name inwrought with many a golden line!
Call not our Poet dead,
Though on his turf we tread!
Green is the wreath their brows so long have worn,--
The minstrels of the morn,
Who, while the Orient burned with new-born flame,
Caught that celestial fire
And struck a Nation's lyre!
These taught the western winds the poet's name;
Theirs the first opening buds, the maiden flowers of fame!
Count not our Poet dead!
The stars shall watch his bed,
The rose of June its fragrant life renew
His blushing mound to strew,
And all the tuneful throats of summer swell
With trills as crystal-clear
As when he wooed the ear
Of the young muse that haunts each wooded dell,
With songs of that "rough land" he loved so long and well!
He sleeps; he cannot die!
As evening's long-drawn sigh,
Lifting the rose-leaves on his peaceful mound,
Spreads all their sweets around,
So, laden with his song, the breezes blow
From where the rustling sedge
Frets our rude ocean's edge
To the smooth sea beyond the peaks of snow.
His soul the air enshrines and leaves but dust below!
Editor 1 Interpretation
"Poetry, Poem (Halleck monument dedication)" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Oliver Wendell Holmes' "Poetry, Poem (Halleck monument dedication)" is a beautiful tribute to the power of poetry and the importance of commemorating those who have contributed to the art form. The poem was written for the dedication of a monument in honor of American poet Fitz-Greene Halleck, and it celebrates both Halleck's legacy and the enduring value of poetry itself.
The Power of Poetry
Holmes begins his poem by acknowledging the power of poetry to evoke emotions and inspire action. He writes:
What is it the wind says, chanting a prophecy old? What is it that the sea says, forever and ever untold? What is it the stars whisper, filling the night with their song? What is it brings us the music that never is heard by the throng?
These lines set the tone for the rest of the poem, emphasizing the mysterious and transcendent quality of poetry. Holmes suggests that poetry is a kind of mystical force that can connect us to the natural world and to something greater than ourselves.
Throughout the poem, Holmes pays tribute to Fitz-Greene Halleck, an American poet who was a contemporary of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Halleck was known for his patriotic poetry and his support of American culture and society.
Holmes praises Halleck's legacy and calls for his contributions to be remembered:
Long as our rivers flow, Long as our mountains stand, So long the name of Halleck Shall echo through the land.
This sentiment reflects the importance of commemorating our artistic and cultural forebears, so that their work can continue to inspire us and future generations.
The Importance of Poetry
Finally, "Poetry, Poem (Halleck monument dedication)" celebrates the enduring value of poetry itself. Holmes writes:
Poets are all who love, who feel great truths and tell; And the truth of truths is love, and its utterance well.
This line encapsulates the idea that poetry is not just about aesthetics or form, but about expressing deep human emotions and experiences. In this sense, anyone who loves and feels deeply can be a poet.
So the world shall henceforth be divided in three wide parts: They who love, and they who hate, and the great poets' hearts.
Here, Holmes suggests that poets occupy a special place in society, as those who are able to capture and express the depth and complexity of human emotion. In a world that can often feel divided and polarized, poetry has the power to bring us together and remind us of our shared humanity.
"Poetry, Poem (Halleck monument dedication)" is a beautiful and inspiring poem that celebrates the power of poetry and the importance of commemorating those who have contributed to the art form. Holmes' words remind us of the enduring value of poetry and its ability to connect us to something greater than ourselves. As we continue to navigate a complicated and sometimes divisive world, we can turn to the words of poets like Holmes and Halleck to find inspiration and meaning.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Oliver Wendell Holmes' "Poetry Poem (Halleck Monument Dedication)" is a classic piece of literature that has stood the test of time. This poem is a tribute to Fitz-Greene Halleck, a poet who was a contemporary of Holmes. The poem was written to commemorate the dedication of a monument to Halleck in his hometown of Guilford, Connecticut. The poem is a beautiful tribute to Halleck and his contributions to the world of poetry.
The poem begins with a description of the monument that has been erected in Halleck's honor. Holmes describes the monument as a "simple shaft" that stands "in the village square." The monument is made of "granite gray" and is "unadorned" except for a "single line of verse" that is inscribed on it. The verse is from one of Halleck's poems and reads, "Green be the turf above thee, friend of my better days."
Holmes then goes on to describe the life and work of Halleck. He describes Halleck as a "poet of the people" who wrote "songs of love and war." Holmes praises Halleck's ability to capture the "spirit of the age" in his poetry. He also notes that Halleck was a "friend of the great" and was "loved by all who knew him."
Holmes then turns his attention to the power of poetry itself. He describes poetry as a "magic art" that has the power to "charm the senses" and "move the heart." He notes that poetry has the power to "rouse the soul to deeds of high emprise" and to "kindle the flame of love." Holmes argues that poetry is not just a form of entertainment, but is also a powerful force for good in the world.
Holmes then returns to the monument and the inscription on it. He notes that the inscription is a "fitting tribute" to Halleck and his work. He argues that the inscription is not just a tribute to Halleck, but is also a tribute to the power of poetry itself. The inscription, he argues, is a reminder that poetry has the power to "keep alive the memory of the dead" and to "inspire the living."
Holmes concludes the poem by calling on the people of Guilford to "cherish" the monument and to "keep it bright." He argues that the monument is not just a tribute to Halleck, but is also a symbol of the power of poetry. He notes that the monument will stand as a reminder of the "genius of the poet" and the "magic of his art."
Overall, Holmes' "Poetry Poem (Halleck Monument Dedication)" is a beautiful tribute to Fitz-Greene Halleck and the power of poetry. The poem is a reminder that poetry is not just a form of entertainment, but is also a powerful force for good in the world. The poem is a fitting tribute to Halleck and his work, and is a reminder that his legacy will live on through his poetry.
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