After A Lecture On Moore

A poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Shine soft, ye trembling tears of light
That strew the mourning skies;
Hushed in the silent dews of night
The harp of Erin lies.

What though her thousand years have past
Of poets, saints, and kings, -
Her echoes only hear the last
That swept those golden strings.

Fling o'er his mound, ye star-lit bowers,
The balmiest wreaths ye wear,
Whose breath has lent your earth-born flowers
Heaven's own ambrosial air.

Breathe, bird of night, thy softest tone,
By shadowy grove and rill;
Thy song will soothe us while we own
That his was sweeter still.

Stay, pitying Time, thy foot for him
Who gave thee swifter wings,
Nor let thine envious shadow dim
The light his glory flings.

If in his cheek unholy blood
Burned for one youthful hour,
'T was but the flushing of the bud
That blooms a milk-white flower.

Take him, kind mother, to thy breast,
Who loved thy smiles so well,
And spread thy mantle o'er his rest
Of rose and asphodel.

The bark has sailed the midnight sea,
The sea without a shore,
That waved its parting sign to thee, -
"A health to thee, Tom Moore!"

And thine, long lingering on the strand,
Its bright-hued streamers furled,
Was loosed by age, with trembling hand,
To seek the silent world.

Not silent! no, the radiant stars
Still singing as they shine,
Unheard through earth's imprisoning bars,
Have voices sweet as thine.

Wake, then, in happier realms above,
The songs of bygone years,
Till angels learn those airs of love
That ravished mortal ears!

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