Verse > Anthologies > Fuess and Stearns, eds. > The Little Book of Society Verse
Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
The Last Leaf
By 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        5
      With his cane.
They say that in his prime,
E’er 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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