Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE VOICELESS, by OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE VOICELESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: We count the broken lyres that rest
Last Line: As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven!
Subject(s): Adversity; Women

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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