Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Aug 29, 1809 - Oct 7, 1894


To My Companions

by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Mine ancient Chair! thy wide-embracing arms
Have clasped around me even from a boy;
Hadst thou a voice to speak of years gone by,
Thine were a tale of sorrow and of joy,
Of fevered hopes and ill-foreboding fears,
And smiles unseen, and unrecorded tears.

And thou, my Table! though unwearied Time
Hath set his signet on thine altered brow,
Still can I see thee in thy spotless prime,
And in my memory thou art living now;
Soon must thou slumber with forgotten things,
The peasant's ashes and the dust of kings.

Thou melancholy Mug! thy sober brown
Hath something pensive in its evening hue,
Not like the things that please the tasteless clown,
With gaudy streaks of orange and of blue;
And I must love thee, for thou art mine own,
Pressed by my lip, and pressed by mine alone.

My broken Mirror! faithless, yet beloved,
Thou who canst smile, and smile alike on all,
Oft do I leave thee, oft again return,
I scorn the siren, but obey the call;
I hate thy falsehood, while I fear thy truth,
But most I love thee, flattering friend of youth.

Primeval Carpet! every well-worn thread
Has slowly parted with its virgin dye;
I saw thee fade beneath the ceaseless tread,
Fainter and fainter in mine anxious eye
So flies the color from the brightest flower,
And heaven's own rainbow lives but for an hour.

I love you all! there radiates from our own
A soul that lives in every shape we see;
There is a voice, to other ears unknown,
Like echoed music answering to its key.
The dungeoned captive hath a tale to tell,
Of every insect in his lonely cell;
And these poor frailties have a simple tone,
That breathes in accents sweet to me alone.


Copyright 1861
Boston: Ticknor And Fields