The Poems of Henry Van Dyke eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.

  It came as a clash of the force that drives and the force that draws;
    And the stars were riven asunder, the heavens were desolate,
  While brother fought with brother, each for his country’s cause: 
    But the country of one was the Nation, the country of other the State.

  Oh, who shall measure the praise or blame in a strife so vast? 
    And who shall speak of traitors or tyrants when all were true? 
  We lift our eyes to the sky, and rejoice that the storm is past,
    And we thank the God of all that the Union shines in the blue.

  Yea, it glows with the glory of peace and the hope of a mighty race,
    High over the grave of broken chains and buried hates;
  And the great, big star of Texas is shining clear in its place
    In the constellate symbol and sign of the free United States.

IV

AFTER THE PIONEERS

After the pioneers—­
Big-hearted, big-handed lords of the axe and the plow and the rifle,
Tan-faced tamers of horses and lands, themselves remaining tameless,
Full of fighting, labour and romance, lovers of rude adventure—­
After the pioneers have cleared the way to their homes and graves on the

                    prairies: 

After the State-builders—­
Zealous and jealous men, dreamers, debaters, often at odds with each
other,
All of them sure it is well to toil and to die, if need be,
Just for the sake of founding a country to leave to their children—­
After the builders have done their work and written their names upon it: 

After the civil war—­
Wildest of all storms, cruel and dark and seemingly wasteful,
Tearing up by the root the vines that were splitting the old foundations,
Washing away with a rain of blood and tears the dust of slavery,
After the cyclone has passed and the sky is fair to the far horizon;
After the era of plenty and peace has come with full hands to Texas,
Then—­what then?

  Is it to be the life of an indolent heir, fat-witted and self-contented,
  Dwelling at ease in the house that others have builded,
  Boasting about the country for which he has done nothing? 
  Is it to be an age of corpulent, deadly-dull prosperity,
  Richer and richer crops to nourish a race of Philistines,
  Bigger and bigger cities full of the same confusion and sorrow,
  The people increasing mightily but no increase of the joy? 
  Is this what the forerunners wished and toiled to win for you,
  This the reward of war and the fruitage of high endeavor,
  This the goal of your hopes and the vision that satisfies you?

  Nay, stand up and answer—­I can read what is in your hearts—­
  You, the children of those who followed the wild-bees,
  You, the children of those who served the Lone Star,
  Now that the hives are full and the star is fixed in the constellation,
  I know that the best of you still are lovers of sweetness and light!

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