Oliver Wendell Holmes

(1809-1894 / United States)

The Island Hunting-Song - Poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes

No more the summer floweret charms,
The leaves will soon be sere,
And Autumn folds his jewelled arms
Around the dying year;
So, ere the waning seasons claim
Our leafless groves awhile,
With golden wine and glowing flame
We ’ll crown our lonely isle.

Once more the merry voices sound
Within the antlered hall,
And long and loud the baying hounds
Return the hunter’s call;
And through the woods, and o’er the hill,
And far along the bay,
The driver’s horn is sounding shrill,—­
Up, sportsmen, and away!

No bars of steel or walls of stone
Our little empire bound,
But, circling with his azure zone,
The sea runs foaming round;
The whitening wave, the purpled skies,
The blue and lifted shore,
Braid with their dim and blending dyes
Our wide horizon o’er.

And who will leave the grave debate
That shakes the smoky town,
To rule amid our island-state,
And wear our oak-leaf crown?
And who will be awhile content
To hunt our woodland game,
And leave the vulgar pack that scent
The reeking track of fame?

Ah, who that shares in toils like these
Will sigh not to prolong
Our days beneath the broad-leaved trees,
Our nights of mirth and song?
Then leave the dust of noisy streets,
Ye outlaws of the wood,
And follow through his green retreats
Your noble Robin Hood.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 6, 2010



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