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.

March 5, 1914.


  O Lord our God, Thy mighty hand
  Hath made our country free;
  From all her broad and happy land
  May praise arise to Thee. 
  Fulfill the promise of her youth,
  Her liberty defend;
  By law and order, love and truth,
  America befriend!

  The strength of every State increase
  In Union’s golden chain;
  Her thousand cities fill with peace,
  Her million fields with grain. 
  The virtues of her mingled blood
  In one new people blend;
  By unity and brotherhood,
  America befriend!

  O suffer not her feet to stray;
  But guide her untaught might,
  That she may walk in peaceful day,
  And lead the world in light. 
  Bring down the proud, lift up the poor,
  Unequal ways amend;
  By justice, nation-wide and sure,
  America befriend!

  Thro’ all the waiting land proclaim
  Thy gospel of good-will;
  And may the music of Thy name
  In every bosom thrill. 
  O’er hill and vale, from sea to sea. 
  Thy holy reign extend;
  By faith and hope and charity,
  America befriend!


These verses were written during the terrible world-war, and immediately after.  The earlier ones had to be unsigned because America was still “neutral” and I held a diplomatic post.  The rest of them were printed after I had resigned, and was free to speak out, and to take active service in the Navy, when America entered the great conflict for liberty and peace on earth.

Avalon, February 22, 1920.


June, 1914

  In the pleasant time of Pentecost,
    By the little river Kyll,
  I followed the angler’s winding path
    Or waded the stream at will,
  And the friendly fertile German land
    Lay round me green and still.

  But all day long on the eastern bank
    Of the river cool and clear,
  Where the curving track of the double rails
    Was hardly seen though near,
  The endless trains of German troops
    Went rolling down to Trier.

  They packed the windows with bullet heads
    And caps of hodden gray;
  They laughed and sang and shouted loud
    When the trains were brought to a stay;
  They waved their hands and sang again
    As they went on their iron way.

  No shadow fell on the smiling land,
    No cloud arose in the sky;
  I could hear the river’s quiet tune
    When the trains had rattled by;
  But my heart sank low with a heavy sense
    Of trouble,—­I knew not why.

  Then came I into a certain field
    Where the devil’s paint-brush spread
  ’Mid the gray and green of the rolling hills
    A flaring splotch of red,—­
  An evil omen, a bloody sign,
    And a token of many dead.

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