Here you will find the Long Poem Ad Amicos of poet Oliver Wendell Holmes
'Dumque virent genua Et decet, obducta solvatur fonte senectus.' THE muse of boyhood's fervid hour Grows tame as skies get chill and hazy; Where once she sought a passion-flower, She only hopes to find a daisy. Well, who the changing world bewails? Who asks to have it stay unaltered? Shall grown-up kittens chase their tails? Shall colts be never shod or haltered? Are we 'The Boys' that used to make The tables ring with noisy follies? Whose deep-lunged laughter oft would shake The ceiling with its thunder-volleys? Are we the youths with lips unshorn, At beauty's feet unwrinkled suitors, Whose memories reach tradition's morn,-- The days of prehistoric tutors? 'The Boys' we knew,--but who are these Whose heads might serve for Plutarch's sages, Or Fox's martyrs, if you please, Or hermits of the dismal ages? 'The Boys' we knew--can these be those? Their cheeks with morning's blush were painted;-- Where are the Harrys, Jims, and Joes With whom we once were well acquainted? If we are they, we're not the same; If they are we, why then they're masking; Do tell us, neighbor What 's--your--name, Who are you?--What's the use of asking? You once were George, or Bill, or Ben; There's you, yourself--there 's you, that other-- I know you now--I knew you then-- You used to be your younger brother! You both are all our own to-day,-- But ah! I hear a warning whisper; Yon roseate hour that flits away Repeats the Roman's sad _paulisper_. Come back! come back! we've need of you To pay you for your word of warning; We'll bathe your wings in brighter dew Than ever wet the lids of morning! Behold this cup; its mystic wine No alien's lip has ever tasted; The blood of friendship's clinging vine, Still flowing, flowing, yet unwasted Old Time forgot his running sand And laid his hour-glass down to fill it, And Death himself with gentle hand Has touched the chalice, not to spill it. Each bubble rounding at the brim Is rainbowed with its magic story; The shining days with age grown dim Are dressed again in robes of glory; In all its freshness spring returns With song of birds and blossoms tender; Once more the torch of passion burns, And youth is here in all its splendor! Hope swings her anchor like a toy, Love laughs and shows the silver arrow We knew so well as man and boy,-- The shaft that stings through bone and marrow; Again our kindling pulses beat, With tangled curls our fingers dally, And bygone beauties smile as sweet As fresh-blown lilies of the valley. O blessed hour! we may forget Its wreaths, its rhymes, its songs, its laughter, But not the loving eyes we met, Whose light shall gild the dim hereafter. How every heart to each grows warm! Is one in sunshine's ray? We share it. Is one in sorrow's blinding storm? A look, a word, shall help him bear it. 'The Boys' we were, 'The Boys' we 'll be As long as three, as two, are creeping; Then here 's to him--ah! which is he?-- Who lives till all the rest are sleeping; A life with tranquil comfort blest, The young man's health, the rich man's plenty, All earth can give that earth has best, And heaven at fourscore years and twenty.