Monday, September 23, 2013

The Height of the Ridiculous  -  1830
Oliver Wendell Holmes
8 stanzas, 32 lines
genre  -  poetry
my rating  -  5 out of 5 stars

What would the result be if you could write as funny as you could?  I imagine that it wouldn't be as powerful and dramatic as what happens in this Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem.

"I wrote some lines once on a time
In wondrous merry mood,
And thought, as usual, men would say
They were exceeding good.

"I called my servant, and he came...

"He took the paper, and I watched,
And saw him peep within;
At the first line he read, his face
Was all upon the grin."

You'll have to read the poem to find out what happened to that poor, poor man.

1830 proved to be an important year for Holmes as a poet.  He began writing poetry for his own amusement. Before the end of the year, he had produced over fifty poems, contributing twenty-five of them to The Collegian, a short-lived publication started by friends from Harvard.

About the author  -

Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 29, 1809.  He was the first son of Abiel Holmes and Sarah Wendell.  Holmes attended Phillips Academy at the age of 15.  Shortly after his sixteenth birthday, Holmes was accepted at Harvard College. 

Holmes intended to go into the legal profession.  By January 1830, however, he was disenchanted with legal studies.  Holmes switched to medicine.  He was awarded his M.D. from Harvard in 1836.

On June 15, 1840, Holmes married Amelia Lee Jackson. They had three children: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Amelia Jackson Holmes, and Edward Jackson Holmes.

Holmes died quietly after falling asleep in the afternoon of Sunday, October 7, 1894. As his son Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., wrote, "His death was as peaceful as one could wish for those one loves. He simply ceased to breathe."

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