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The Organ-Blower Analysis



Author: Poetry of Oliver Wendell Holmes Type: Poetry Views: 97

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DEVOUTEST of my Sunday friends,

The patient Organ-blower bends;

I see his figure sink and rise,

(Forgive me, Heaven, my wandering eyes!)

A moment lost, the next half seen,

His head above the scanty screen,

Still measuring out his deep salaams

Through quavering hymns and panting psalms.



No priest that prays in gilded stole,

To save a rich man's mortgaged soul;

No sister, fresh from holy vows,

So humbly stoops, so meekly bows;

His large obeisance puts to shame

The proudest genuflecting dame,

Whose Easter bonnet low descends

With all the grace devotion lends.



O brother with the supple spine,

How much we owe those bows of thine!

Without thine arm to lend the breeze,

How vain the finger on the keys!

Though all unmatched the player's skill,

Those thousand throats were dumb and still:

Another's art may shape the tone,

The breath that fills it is thine own.



Six days the silent Memnon waits

Behind his temple's folded gates;

But when the seventh day's sunshine falls

Through rainbowed windows on the walls,

He breathes, he sings, he shouts, he fills

The quivering air with rapturous thrills;

The roof resounds, the pillars shake,

And all the slumbering echoes wake!



The Preacher from the Bible-text

With weary words my soul has vexed

(Some stranger, fumbling far astray

To find the lesson for the day);

He tells us truths too plainly true,

And reads the service all askew,--

Why, why the-- mischief-- can't he look

Beforehand in the service-book?



But thou, with decent mien and face,

Art always ready in thy place;

Thy strenuous blast, whate'er the tune,

As steady as the strong monsoon;

Thy only dread a leathery creak,

Or small residual extra squeak,

To send along the shadowy aisles

A sunlit wave of dimpled smiles.



Not all the preaching, O my friend,

Comes from the church's pulpit end!

Not all that bend the knee and bow

Yield service half so true as thou!

One simple task performed aright,

With slender skill, but all thy might,

Where honest labor does its best,

And leaves the player all the rest.



This many-diapasoned maze,

Through which the breath of being strays,

Whose music makes our earth divine,

Has work for mortal hands like mine.

My duty lies before me. Lo,

The lever there! Take hold and blow!

And He whose hand is on the keys

Will play the tune as He shall please.





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