by Oliver Wendell Holmes
We count the broken lyres that rest
Where the sweet wailing singers slumber,
But o'er their silent sister's breast
The wild-flowers who will stoop to number?
A few can touch the magic string,
And noisy Fame is proud to win them: --
Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them!
Nay, grieve not for the dead alone
Whose song has told their hearts' sad story, --
Weep for the voiceless, who have known
The cross without the crown of glory!
Not where Leucadian breezes sweep
O'er Sappho's memory-haunted billow,
But where the glistening night-dews weep
On nameless sorrow's churchyard pillow.
O hearts that break and give no sign
Save whitening lip and fading tresses
Till Death pours out his cordial wine
Slow-dropped from Misery's crushing presses --
If singing breath or echoing chord
To every hidden pang were given,
What endless melodies were poured,
As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven!
Source:Illustrated poems of Oliver Wendell Holmes
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin And Company
New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street