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Oliver Wendell Holmes - The Voiceless

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 longed-for 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! 

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Added: Apr 5 2005 | Viewed: 3042 times | Comments and analysis of The Voiceless by Oliver Wendell Holmes Comments (1)

The Voiceless - Comments and Information

Poet: Oliver Wendell Holmes
Poem: The Voiceless
Poem of the Day: Jul 19 2014

Comment 1 of 1, added on May 23rd, 2008 at 10:19 PM.

This is one of the saddest poems, I had to memorize it
in Junior High and it stayed with me; People need to sing, speak out and make a sound. Alas for those that
never sing, but die with all their music in them.
Very well put. Rachel

Rachel Vonhale from United States

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