Internet Accuracy Project

Home
Table of Contents
Place Name Index
Biographical Index
Reference Book Errors
Unusual Town Names
Commonly Confused Words
Weights and Measurements
Spell Checker Fun
Witty Acronyms
Free eBooks (A - D)
Free eBooks (E - Hd)
Free eBooks (He - Hz)
Free eBooks (I - L)
Free eBooks (M - P)
Free eBooks (Q - R)
Free eBooks (S - V)
Free eBooks (W - Z)
Short Robert Browning Poems
James Whitcomb Riley Poems
Christmas Poems by Rossetti
William Cullen Bryant Poems
James Russell Lowell Poems
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Poems by Rudyard Kipling
Poems by Sir Walter Scott
Short Wordsworth Poems
Christina Rossetti Poetry
African-American Poetry
Easter Poems and Prose
Edgar Allan Poe Poems
Short Whitman Poems
Short Poems by Keats
Milton's Short Poems
Short Whittier Poetry
Christmas Poems
Short Poems
Roman Numerals
U.S. Mail Holidays
U.S. Postage Rates
U.S. Time Zones
U.S. Presidents
World Capitals
U.S. Capitals
2012 Calendar
2013 Calendar
Daylight Saving Time
Frequently Asked Questions
Contribute Used Books
Recent Updates
Link to Us
Blog
Contact Us
"Prologue" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

The following is the complete text of "Prologue" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Our presentation of this poem comes from The Complete Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes (1910). The various books, short stories and poems we offer are presented free of charge with absolutely no advertising as a public service from Internet Accuracy Project.


Visit these other works by Oliver Wendell Holmes
"At the Pantomime"
"At the Saturday Club"
"A Ballad of the Boston Tea Party"
"The Broomstick Train; or, The Return of the Witches"
"Bryant's Seventieth Birthday"
A Collection of his Short Poems
"Dorothy Q: A Family Portrait"
"A Farewell to Agassiz"
"The Flaneur"
"For Whittier's Seventieth Birthday"
"Grandmother's Story of Bunker-Hill Battle"
"How the Old Horse Won the Bet"
"Iris, Her Book"
"The Last Survivor"
"Meeting of the Alumni of Harvard College"
"The Moral Bully"
"The Morning Visit"

"A Mother's Secret"
"The Old Cruiser"
"The Old Player"
"On Lending a Punch Bowl"
"Once More"
"Our Banker"
"Parson Turell's Legacy"
"The Parting Word"
"The Ploughman"
Poem read at the Dinner given April 12, 1883
"Rip Van Winkle, M. D."
"The School-Boy"
"The Secret of the Stars"
"The Smiling Listener"
"Spring"
"The Study"
"To James Russell Lowell"

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.

Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, short story or poem.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain eBooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a short story or poem for use in the classroom.


NOTE: We try to present these classic literary works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.


"Prologue" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

PROLOGUE

BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES


A PROLOGUE? Well, of course the ladies know;--
I have my doubts. No matter,--here we go!
What is a Prologue? Let our Tutor teach:
Pro means beforehand; logos stands for speech.
'T is like the harper's prelude on the strings,
The prima donna's courtesy ere she sings:--
Prologues in metre are to other
pros
As worsted stockings are to engine-hose.
"The world 's a stage,"--as Shakespeare said, one day;
The stage a world--was what he meant to say.
The outside world 's a blunder, that is clear;
The real world that Nature meant is here.
Here every foundling finds its lost mamma;
Each rogue, repentant, melts his stern papa;
Misers relent, the spendthrift's debts are paid,
The cheats are taken in the traps they laid;
One after one the troubles all are past
Till the fifth act comes right side up at last,
When the young couple, old folks, rogues, and all,
Join hands,
so happy at the curtain's fall.
Here suffering virtue ever finds relief,
And black-browed ruffians always come to grief.
When the lorn damsel, with a frantic screech,
And cheeks as hueless as a brandy-peach,
Cries, "Help, kyind Heaven!" and drops upon her knees
On the green--baize,--beneath the (canvas) trees,--
See to her side avenging Valor fly:--
"Ha! Villain! Draw! Now, Terraitorr, yield or die!"
When the poor hero flounders in despair,
Some dear lost uncle turns up millionaire,
Clasps the young scrapegrace with paternal joy,
Sobs on his neck, "
My boy! MY BOY!! MY BOY!!!"

Ours, then, sweet friends, the real world to-night,
Of love that conquers in disaster's spite.
Ladies, attend! While woful cares and doubt
Wrong the soft passion in the world without,
Though fortune scowl, though prudence interfere,
One thing is certain: Love will triumph here!
Lords of creation, whom your ladies rule,--
The world's great masters, when you 're out of school,--
Learn the brief moral of our evening's play
Man has his will,--but woman has her way!
While man's dull spirit toils in smoke and fire,
Woman's swift instinct threads the electric wire,--
The magic bracelet stretched beneath the waves
Beats the black giant with his score of slaves.
All earthly powers confess your sovereign art
But that one rebel,--woman's wilful heart.
All foes you master, but a woman's wit
Lets daylight through you ere you know you 're hit.
So, just to picture what her art can do,
Hear an old story, made as good as new.

Rudolph, professor of the headsman's trade,
Alike was famous for his arm and blade.
One day a prisoner Justice had to kill
Knelt at the block to test the artist's skill.
Bare-armed, swart-visaged, gaunt, and shaggy-browed,
Rudolph the headsman rose above the crowd.
His falchion lighted with a sudden gleam,
As the pike's armor flashes in the stream.
He sheathed his blade; he turned as if to go;
The victim knelt, still waiting for the blow.
"Why strikest not? Perform thy murderous act,"
The prisoner said. (His voice was slightly cracked.)
"Friend, I
have struck," the artist straight replied;
"Wait but one moment, and yourself decide."
He held his snuff-box,--"Now then, if you please!"
The prisoner sniffed, and, with a crashing sneeze,
Off his head tumbled,--bowled along the floor,--
Bounced down the steps;--the prisoner said no more!
Woman! thy falchion is a glittering eye;
If death lurk in it, O how sweet to die!
Thou takest hearts as Rudolph took the head;
We die with love, and never dream we 're dead!


If you find the above classic poem useful, please link to this page from your webpage, blog or website. Alternatively, consider recommending Internet Accuracy Project to your friends and colleagues. Thank you in advance!

Website Copyright © 2005-2012 INTERNET ACCURACY PROJECT. BY ACCESSING THIS SITE YOU ARE STATING THAT YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS regardless of whether you reside in the United States of America or not. Our Privacy Policy. This page was last updated January 1, 2012.




privacy policy