The Cambred Nautilus, poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil
Still, as the spiral grew;
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door
Stretched in his last found home, he knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap forlorn,
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Then ever triton blew from wreathed horn!
While on mine ear it rings,
Trough the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:

Build thee more stately mansions, o my soul!
As the swift seasons roll
Leave thy low-vaulted past,
Let each new temple, nobler then the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown steel by life’s unresisting sea!

Oliver Wendell Holmes

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