The Fountain Of Youth
READ AT THE MEETING OF THE HARVARD ALUMNI
by Oliver Wendell Holmes
ASSOCIATION, JUNE 25, 1873
THE fount the Spaniard sought in vain
Through all the land of flowers
Leaps glittering from the sandy plain
Our classic grove embowers;
Here youth, unchanging, blooms and smiles,
Here dwells eternal spring,
And warm from Hope's elysian isles
The winds their perfume bring.
Here every leaf is in the bud,
Each singing throat in tune,
And bright o'er evening's silver flood
Shines the young crescent moon.
What wonder Age forgets his staff
And lays his glasses down,
And gray-haired grandsires look and laugh
As when their locks were brown!
With ears grown dull and eyes grown dim
They greet the joyous day
That calls them to the fountain's brim
To wash their years away.
What change has clothed the ancient sire
In sudden youth? For, to!
The Judge, the Doctor, and the Squire
Are Jack and Bill and Joe!
And be his titles what they will,
In spite of manhood's claim
The graybeard is a school-boy still
And loves his school-boy name;
It calms the ruler's stormy breast
Whom hurrying care pursues,
And brings a sense of peace and rest,
Like slippers after shoes.--
And what are all the prizes won
To youth's enchanted view?
And what is all the man has done
To what the boy may do?
O blessed fount, whose waters flow
Alike for sire and son,
That melts our winter's frost and snow
And makes all ages one!
I pledge the sparkling fountain's tide,
That flings its golden shower
With age to fill and youth to guide,
Still fresh in morning flower
Flow on with ever-widening stream,
In ever-brightening morn,--
Our story's pride, our future's dream,
The hope of times unborn!