To Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg For His "Jubilaeum" At Berlin, November 5, 1868

A poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thou who hast taught the teachers of mankind
How from the least of things the mightiest grow,
What marvel jealous Nature made thee blind,
Lest man should learn what angels long to know?
Thou in the flinty rock, the river's flow,
In the thick-moted sunbeam's sifted light
Hast trained thy downward-pointed tube to show
Worlds within worlds unveiled to mortal sight,
Even as the patient watchers of the night, -
The cyclope gleaners of the fruitful skies, -
Show the wide misty way where heaven is white
All paved with suns that daze our wondering eyes.

Far o'er the stormy deep an empire lies,
Beyond the storied islands of the blest,
That waits to see the lingering day-star rise;
The forest-tinctured Eden of the West;
Whose queen, fair Freedom, twines her iron crest
With leaves from every wreath that mortals wear,
But loves the sober garland ever best
That science lends the sage's silvered hair; -
Science, who makes life's heritage more fair,
Forging for every lock its mastering key,
Filling with life and hope the stagnant air,
Pouring the light of Heaven o'er land and sea!
From her unsceptred realm we come to thee,
Bearing our slender tribute in our hands;
Deem it not worthless, humble though it be,
Set by the larger gifts of older lands
The smallest fibres weave the strongest bands, -
In narrowest tubes the sovereign nerves are spun, -
A little cord along the deep sea-sands
Makes the live thought of severed nations one
Thy fame has journeyed westering with the sun,
Prairies and lone sierras know thy name
And the long day of service nobly done
That crowns thy darkened evening with its flame!

One with the grateful world, we own thy claim, -
Nay, rather claim our right to join the throng
Who come with varied tongues, but hearts the same,
To hail thy festal morn with smiles and song;
Ah, happy they to whom the joys belong
Of peaceful triumphs that can never die
From History's record, - not of gilded wrong,
But golden truths that, while the world goes by
With all its empty pageant, blazoned high
Around the Master's name forever shine
So shines thy name illumined in the sky, -
Such joys, such triumphs, such remembrance thine!

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