poems from dickinson to william howland

"Sic transit gloria mundi,"
   "How doth the busy bee,"
"Dum vivimus vivamus,"
   I stay mine enemy!

Oh "veni, vidi, vici!"
   Oh caput cap-a-pie!
And oh "memento mori"
   When I am far from thee!

Hurrah for Peter Parley!
   Hurrah for Daniel Boon!
Three cheers, sir, for the gentleman
   Who first observed the moon!

Peter, put up the sunshine;
   Pattie, arrange the stars;
Tell Luna, tea is waiting,
   And call your brother Mars!

Put down the apple, Adam,
   And come away with me,
So shalt thou have a pippin
   From off my father's tree!

I climb the "Hill of Science,"
   I "view the landscape o'er;"
Such transcendental prospect,
   I ne'er beheld before!

Unto the Legislature
   My country bids me go;
I'll take my india rubbers,
   In case the wind should blow!

During my education,
   It was announced to me
That gravitation, stumbling,
   Fell from an apple tree!

The earth upon an axis
   Was once supposed to turn,
By way of a gymnastic
   In honor of the sun!

It was the brave Columbus,
   A sailing o'er the tide,
Who notified the nations
   Of where I would reside!

Mortality is fatal -
   Gentility is fine,
Rascality, heroic,
   Insolvency, sublime!

Our Fathers being weary,
   Laid down on Bunker Hill;
And tho' full many a morning,
   Yet they are sleeping still, -

The trumpet, sir, shall wake them,
   In dreams I see them rise,
Each with a solemn musket
   A marching to the skies!

A coward will remain, Sir,
   Until the fight is done;
But an immortal hero
   Will take his hat, and run!

Good bye, Sir, I am going;
   My country calleth me;
Allow me, Sir, at parting,
   To wipe my weeping e'e.

In token of our friendship
   Accept this "Bonnie Doon,"
And when the hand that plucked it
   Hath passed beyond the moon,

The memory of my ashes
   Will consolation be;
Then, farewell, Tuscarora,
   And farewell, Sir, to thee!

St. Valentine - '52

thomas johnson's note on poem 3 | index to dickinson/howland poems

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on February 14, 2000