Poem at the Dedication of the Halleck Monument

Poem at the Dedication of the Halleck Monument  (1869) 
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

    Say not the Poet dies!
    Though in the dust he lies,
  He cannot forfeit his melodious breath,
    Unsphered by envious death!
  Life drops the voiceless myriads from its roll;
    Their fate he cannot share,
    Who, in the enchanted air
  Sweet with the lingering strains that Echo stole,
Has left his dearer self, the music of his soul!

    We o'er his turf may raise
    Our notes of feeble praise,
  And carve with pious care for after eyes
    The stone with "Here he lies;"
  He for himself has built a nobler shrine,
    Whose walls of stately rhyme
    Roll back the tide of time,
  While o'er their gates the gleaming tablets shine
That wear his name inwrought with many a golden line!

    Call not our Poet dead,
    Though on his turf we tread!
  Green is the wreath their brows so long have worn,—
    The minstrels of the morn,
  Who, while the Orient burned with newborn flame,
    Caught that celestial fire
    And struck a Nation's lyre!
  These taught the western winds the poet's name;
Theirs the first opening buds, the maiden flowers of fame!

    Count not our Poet dead!
    The stars shall watch his bed,
  The rose of June its fragrant life renew
    His blushing mound to strew,
  And all the tuneful throats of summer swell
    With trills as crystal-clear
    As when he wooed the ear
  Of the young muse that haunts each wooded dell
With songs of that "rough land" he loved so long and well!

    Here he sleeps; he cannot die!
    As evening's long-drawn sigh,
  Lifting the rose-leaves on his peaceful mound,
    Spreads all their sweets around,
  So, laden with his song, the breezes blow
    From where the rustling sedge
    Frets our rude ocean's edge
  To the smooth sea beyond the peaks of snow.
His soul the air enshrines and leaves but dust below!