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110

Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!
What do you think the parson found,
When he got up and stared around?
The poor old chaise in a heap or mound,
As if it had been to the mill and ground.
You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once,-
All at once, and nothing first,-
Just as bubbles do when they burst.

115

End of the wonderful one-hoss shay,
Logic is logic. That's all I say.

HELPS TO STUDY

Notes and Questions How does Holmes account for the applied ?

fact "that a chaise breaks down, To what does the poet compare but doesn't wear out''?

the breaking down of the chaise? What kind of chaise did the Dea Read lines which show the serious con decide to build?

side of the poet's nature. On what principle did he expect Read the lines by means of which to do this?

he passes from seriousness to Read the lines in which the Deacon jest.

states the result of his expe. Do you think Holmes expects his rience with chaises.

readers to believe this story? What do you think of his reason. Give reason for your answer. ing?

What was his purpose in writing it? To what besides the building of a What has the reading of this poem

chaise might this principle be done for you?

Words and Phrases for Discussion Georgius Secundus”!

“from the German hive” “Lisbon earthquake day“Braddock's army??

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HELPS TO STUDY Historical: Old Ironsides was the name given the frigate Constitution. It was proposed by the Secretary of the Navy to dispose of the ship as it had become unfit for service. Popular sentiment did not approve of this. It was said a ship which was the pride of the nation should continue to be the property of the Navy and be rebuilt for service when needed. Holmes wrote this poem at the time of this discussion.

Notes and Questions Of what does the first stanza treat? What is meant by lines 15 and 16? The second ?

| Where does Holmes say should be What does the third stanza tell the grave of Old Ironsides?

Why? To what does "tattered ensign” | Explain lines 23 and 24. refer?

Which lines do you like best? What is “The meteor of the ocean

Why? air''?

you?

Words and Phrases for Discussion "sweep the clouds" "vanquished foe", "victor's tread” “conquered knee'. “The god of storms" "shattered hulk” "mighty deep"

"threadbare sail'

THE BOYS

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

Has there any old fellow got mixed with the boys ?
If there has, take him out, without making a noise.
Hang the Almanac's cheat and the Catalogue's spite !
Old Time is a liar! We're twenty tonight!

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We're twenty! We're twenty! Who says we are more?
He's tipsy,—young jackanapes !-show him the door!
“Gray temples at twenty ?” —Yes! white if we please;
Where the snow-flakes fall thickest there's nothing can

freeze!
Was it snowing I spoke of ? Excuse the mistake !
Look close,—you will see not a sign of a flake!
We want some new garlands for those we have shed,
And these are white roses in place of the red.

We've a trick, we young fellows, you may have been told,
Of talking (in public) as if we were old :-
That boy we call “Doctor,” and this we call “Judge”;
It's a neat little fiction,—of course it's all fudge.

15

That fellow's the “Speaker,”—the one on the right;
“Mr. Mayor," my young one, how are you tonight?
That's our “Member of Congress,” we say when we chaff;
There's the "Reverend” What's his name?-don't make me

laugh.

20

That boy with the grave mathematical look
Made believe he had written a wonderful book,
And the Royal SOCIETY thought it was true!
So they chose him right in; a good joke it was, too!
There's a boy, we pretend, with a three-decker brain,
That could harness a team with a logical chain;
When he spoke for our manhood in syllabled fire,
We called him “The Justice," but now he's "The Squire.”

25

30

And there's a nice youngster of excellent pith,-
Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith;
But he shouted a song for the brave and the free,-
Just read on his medal, “My country, ... of thee !"

You hear that boy laughing ?—You think he's all fun;
But the angels laugh, too, at the good he has done ;
The children laugh loud as they troop to his call,
And the poor man that knows him laughs loudest of all!

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Yes, we're boys,-always playing with tongue or with pen,-
And I sometimes have asked,-Shall we ever be men?
Shall we always be youthful, and laughing, and gay,
Till the last dear companion drops smiling away?

Then here's to our boyhood, its gold and its gray!
The stars of its winter, the dews of its May!
And when we have done with our life-lasting toys,
Dear Father, take care of thy children, THE BOYS.

HELPS TO STUDY Historical: This poem was read by Oliver Wendell Holmes at a reunion of his college class thirty years after their graduation.

Notes and Questions

Who were “the boys''?

| What fancy does the poet carry What was the “Almanac's cheat''? out in the next stanza? What catalogue do you think What song did the “nice young. Holmes meant ?

ster' write? How could it be interpreted as What is his full name?

showing spite against “the What word is omitted from the line boys''

of the song quoted by Holmes? How did the poet defend “gray / How do you think Holmes felt totemples at twenty''?

ward the laughing “boy''? Why What was the significance in early do you think so ?

times of the garland or wreath Can you name anything besides upon the head?

"tongue and pen” with which What do you think the garlands men may be said to play?

which the poet imagines his What time of life is meant by classmates “have shed” repre- the “gold''? By the “gray''? sent?

How much of this poem is fun ? Of what does Holmes say their new Which stanza do you like best? garlands were made?

Why? What might the new garlands” | What do you know about Oliver represent?

Wendell Holmes from this poem?

“Royal Society"

Words and Phrases for Discussion

"three-decker brain" "excellent pith”
“life-lasting toys”.

THE LAST LEAF

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,

And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground

With his cane.

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