Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
Oliver Wendell Holmes. 1809–1894
92. The Last Leaf
I SAW him once before, 
As he passed by the door, 
    And again 
The pavement stones resound, 
As he totters o'er the ground         5
    With his cane. 
They say that in his prime, 
Ere the pruning-knife of Time 
    Cut him down, 
Not a better man was found  10
By the Crier on his round 
    Through the town. 
But now he walks the streets, 
And he looks at all he meets 
    Sad and wan,  15
And he shakes his feeble head, 
That it seems as if he said, 
    "They are gone." 
The mossy marbles rest 
On the lips that he has prest  20
    In their bloom, 
And the names he loved to hear 
Have been carved for many a year 
    On the tomb. 
My grandmamma has said—  25
Poor old lady, she is dead 
    Long ago— 
That he had a Roman nose, 
And his cheek was like a rose 
    In the snow.  30
But now his nose is thin, 
And it rests upon his chin 
    Like a staff, 
And a crook is in his back, 
And a melancholy crack  35
    In his laugh. 
I know it is a sin 
For me to sit and grin 
    At him here; 
But the old three-cornered hat,  40
And the breeches, and all that, 
    Are so queer! 
And if I should live to be 
The last leaf upon the tree 
    In the spring,—  45
Let them smile, as I do now, 
At the old forsaken bough 
    Where I cling. 

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