Oliver Wendell Holmes

(1809-1894 / United States)

A Sentiment Poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes


The pledge of Friendship! it is still divine,
Though watery floods have quenched its burning wine;
Whatever vase the sacred drops may hold,
The gourd, the shell, the cup of beaten gold,
Around its brim the hand of Nature throws
A garland sweeter than the banquet’s rose.
Bright are the blushes of the vine-wreathed bowl,
Warm with the sunshine of Anacreon’s soul,
But dearer memories gild the tasteless wave
That fainting Sidney perished as he gave.
’T is the heart’s current lends the cup its glow,
Whate’er the fountain whence the draught may flow,—­
The diamond dew-drops sparkling through the sand,
Scooped by the Arab in his sunburnt hand,
Or the dark streamlet oozing from the snow,
Where creep and crouch the shuddering Esquimaux;
Ay, in the stream that, ere again we meet,
Shall burst the pavement, glistening at our feet,
And, stealing silent from its leafy hills,
Thread all our alleys with its thousand rills,—­
In each pale draught if generous feeling blend,
And o’er the goblet friend shall smile on friend,
Even cold Cochituate every heart shall warm,
And genial Nature still defy reform!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 06, 2010

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