Poem of Quotes - Poetry, Quotations, and Relationships
Home > Poets > 19th Century > Oliver Wendell Holmes > The Last Leaf by Oliver Wendell Holmes Analysis & Poem

The Last Leaf by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Analysis

"The Last Leaf" is a poem written by Oliver Wendell Holmes. This poem speaks about being the last person alive out of all the friends and family. The story is narrated by a young man who sees an elderly fellow who looks sad and as if he no longer likes life. He talks to his grandmother and she tells him that the old man wasn't always this way, he use to be happy. The young narrator then states that when he gets as old as the elderly fellow that he won't be the same way.

"The Last Leaf" consists of eight stanzas with six lines in each. The stanzas are rhymed as AABCCB. Most of the lines (not the third and sixth) contain six syllables. However, some of them contain seven. The poem is written in iambic feet for the six syllable lines and triambic for the three syllable lines.

Poem

The Last Leaf
By 

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of Time
Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round
Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And looks at all he meets
Sad and wan,
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
"They are gone."

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has prest
In their bloom,
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said
Poor old lady, she is dead
Long ago
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow;

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff,
And a crook is in his back,
And a melancholy crack
In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.

Next: The Living Temple