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.

1899.

THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET

I

Where’s your kingdom, little king? 
Where the land you call your own,
Where your palace and your throne? 
Fluttering lightly on the wing
Through the blossom-world of May,
Whither lies your royal way,
Little king?

Far to northward lies a land
Where the trees together stand
Closely as the blades of wheat
When the summer is complete. 
Rolling like an ocean wide
Over vale and mountainside,
Balsam, hemlock, spruce and pine,—­
All those mighty trees are mine. 
There’s a river flowing free,—­
All its waves belong to me. 
There’s a lake so clear and bright
Stars shine out of it all night;
Rowan-berries round it spread
Like a belt of coral red. 
Never royal garden planned
Fair as my Canadian land! 
There I build my summer nest,
There I reign and there I rest,
While from dawn to dark I sing,
Happy kingdom!  Lucky king!

II

Back again, my little king! 
Is your happy kingdom lost
To the rebel knave, Jack Frost? 
Have you felt the snow-flakes sting? 
Houseless, homeless in October,
Whither now?  Your plight is sober,
Exiled king!

Far to southward lie the regions
Where my loyal flower-legions
Hold possession of the year,
Filling every month with cheer. 
Christmas wakes the winter rose;
New Year daffodils unclose;
Yellow jasmine through the wood
Flows in February flood,
Dropping from the tallest trees
Golden streams that never freeze. 
Thither now I take my flight
Down the pathway of the night,
Till I see the southern moon
Glisten on the broad lagoon,
Where the cypress’ dusky green,
And the dark magnolia’s sheen,
Weave a shelter round my home. 
There the snow-storms never come;
There the bannered mosses gray
Like a curtain gently sway,
Hanging low on every side
Round the covert where I bide,
Till the March azalea glows,
Royal red and heavenly rose,
Through the Carolina glade
Where my winter home is made. 
There I hold my southern court,
Full of merriment and sport: 
There I take my ease and sing,
Happy kingdom!  Lucky king!

III

Little boaster, vagrant king,
Neither north nor south is yours,
You’ve no kingdom that endures! 
Wandering every fall and spring,
With your ruby crown so slender,
Are you only a Pretender,
Landless king?

Never king by right divine
Ruled a richer realm than mine! 
What are lands and golden crowns,
Armies, fortresses and towns,
Jewels, sceptres, robes and rings,—­
What are these to song and wings? 
Everywhere that I can fly,
There I own the earth and sky;
Everywhere that I can sing. 
There I’m happy as a king.

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