The Poems of Henry Van Dyke eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 381 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.
      A noble discontent
      Cries for a wider scope
  To use the wider wings of human hope;
      A vision of the common good
  Opens the prison-door of solitude;
      And, once beyond the wall,
      Breathing the ampler air,
      The heart becomes aware
 That life without a country is not life at all.
      A country worthy of a freeman’s love;
      A country worthy of a good man’s prayer;
      A country strong, and just, and brave, and fair,—­
      A woman’s form of beauty throned above
      The shrine where noble aspirations meet—­
      To live for her is great, to die is sweet!

      Heirs of the rugged pioneers
      Who dreamed this dream and made it true,
      Remember that they dreamed for you. 
      They did not fear their fate
      In those tempestuous years,
  But put their trust in God, and with keen eyes,
  Trained in the open air for looking far,
      They saw the many-million-acred land
      Won from the desert by their hand,
      Swiftly among the nations rise,—­
        Texas a sovereign State,
        And on her brow a star!



  How strange that the nature of light is a thing beyond our ken,
    And the flame of the tiniest candle flows from a fountain sealed! 
  How strange that the meaning of life, in the little lives of men,
    So often baffles our search with a mystery unrevealed!

  But the larger life of man, as it moves in its secular sweep,
    Is the working out of a Sovereign Will whose ways appear;
  And the course of the journeying stars on the dark blue boundless deep,
    Is the place where our science rests in the reign of law most clear.

I would read the story of Texas as if it were written on high;
I would look from afar to follow her path through the calms and storms;
With a faith in the worldwide sway of the Reason that rules in the sky,
And gathers and guides the starry host in clusters and swarms.

When she rose in the pride of her youth, she seemed to be moving apart,
As a single star in the South, self-limited, self-possessed;
But the law of the constellation was written deep in her heart,
And she heard when her sisters called, from the North and the East and
the West.

They were drawn together and moved by a common hope and aim—­
The dream of a sign that should rule a third of the heavenly arch;
The soul of a people spoke in their call, and Texas came
To enter the splendid circle of States in their onward march.

So the glory gathered and grew and spread from sea to sea,
And the stars of the great republic lent each other light;
For all were bound together in strength, and each was free—­
Suddenly broke the tempest out of the ancient night!

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The Poems of Henry Van Dyke from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.