Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Aug 29, 1809 - Oct 7, 1894


The Last Prophecy Of Cassandra

by Oliver Wendell Holmes

The sun is fading in the skies
And evening shades are gathering fast;
Fair city, ere that sun shall rise,
Thy night hath come, -- thy day is past!

Ye know not, -- but the hour is nigh;
Ye will not heed the warning breath;
No vision strikes your clouded eye,
To break the sleep that wakes in death.

Go, age, and let thy withered cheek
Be wet once more with freezing tears;
And bid thy trembling sorrow speak,
In accents of departed years.

Go, child, and pour thy sinless prayer
Before the everlasting throne;
And He who sits in glory there,
May stoop to hear thy silver tone.

Go, warrior, in thy glittering steel,
And bow thee at the altar's side;
And bid thy frowning gods reveal
The doom their mystic counsels hide.

Go, maiden, in thy flowing veil,
And bare thy brow, and bend thy knee;
When the last hopes of mercy fail,
Thy God may yet remember thee.

Go, as thou didst in happier hours,
And lay thine incense on the shrine;
And greener leaves, and fairer flowers,
Around the sacred image twine.

I saw them rise, -- the buried dead, --
From marble tomb and grassy mound;
I heard the spirits' printless tread,
And voices not of earthly sound.

I looked upon the quivering stream,
And its cold wave was bright with flame;
And wild, as from a fearful dream,
The wasted forms of battle came.

Ye will not hear, -- ye will not know, --
Ye scorn the maniac's idle song;
Ye care not! but the voice of woe
Shall thunder loud, and echo long.

Blood shall be in your marble halls,
And spears shall glance, and fires shall glow;
Rum shall sit upon your walls,
But ye shall lie in death below.

Ay, none shall live to hear the storm
Around their blackened pillars sweep;
To shudder at the reptile's form,
Or scare the wild bird from her sleep.


Copyright 1861
Boston: Ticknor And Fields
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