Published on Academy of American Poets (

Departed Days

Yes, dear departed, cherished days,
   Could Memory’s hand restore
Your morning light, your evening rays
   From Time’s gray urn once more,—
Then might this restless heart be still,
   This straining eye might close,
And Hope her fainting pinions fold,
   While the fair phantoms rose.

But, like a child in ocean’s arms,
   We strive against the stream,
Each moment farther from the shore
   Where life’s young fountains gleam;—
Each moment fainter wave the fields,
   And wider rolls the sea;
The mist grows dark,—the sun goes down,—
Day breaks,—and where are we?


This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 9, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Departed Days” was published in The Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes (Osgood & Co., 1877).


Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 29, 1809.

Date Published: 1877-01-01

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