At a Birthday Festival

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At a Birthday Festival  (1859) 
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
to J. R. Lowell

February 22, 1859

We will not speak of years to-night,—
  For what have years to bring
But larger floods of live and light,
  And sweeter songs to sing?

We will not drown in wordy praise
  The kindly thoughts that rise;
If Friendship own one tender phrase,
  He reads it in our eyes.

We need not waste our school-boy art
  To gild this notch of Time;—
Forgive me if my wayward heart
  Has throbbed in artless rhyme.

Enough for him the silent grasp
  That knits us hand in hand,
And he the bracelet's radiant clasp
  That locks our circling band.

Strength to his hours of many toil!
  Peace to his starlit dreams!
Who loves alike the furrowed soil,
  The music-haunted streams!

Sweet smiles to keep forever bright
  The sunshine on his lips,
And faith that sees the ring of light
  Round nature's last eclipse!

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.