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

For the American Aviators who died in the war.

March, 1919.

A SHRINE IN THE PANTHEON

FOR THE UNNAMED SOLDIERS WHO DIED IN FRANCE

Universal approval has been accorded the proposal made in the French Chamber that the ashes of an unnamed French soldier, fallen for his country, shall be removed with solemn ceremony to the Pantheon.  In this way it is intended to honor by a symbolic ceremony the memory of all who lie in unmarked graves.

  Here the great heart of France,
    Victor in noble strife,
  Doth consecrate a Poilu’s tomb
    To those who saved her life!

  Brave son without a name,
    Your country calls you home,
  To rest among her heirs of fame,
    Beneath the Pantheon’s dome!

  Now from the height of Heaven,
    The souls of heroes look;
  Their names, ungraven on this stone,
    Are written in God’s book.

  Women of France, who mourn
    Your dead in unmarked ground,
  Come hither!  Here the man you loved
    In the heart of France is found!

IN PRAISE OF POETS

MOTHER EARTH

Mother of all the high-strung poets and singers departed,
Mother of all the grass that weaves over their graves the glory of the
field,
Mother of all the manifold forms of life, deep-bosomed, patient,
impassive,
Silent brooder and nurse of lyrical joys and sorrows! 
Out of thee, yea, surely out of the fertile depth below thy breast,
Issued in some strange way, thou lying motionless, voiceless,
All these songs of nature, rhythmical, passionate, yearning. 
Coming in music from earth, but not unto earth returning.

Dust are the blood-red hearts that beat in time to these measures,
Thou hast taken them back to thyself, secretly, irresistibly
Drawing the crimson currents of life down, down, down
Deep into thy bosom again, as a river is lost in the sand. 
But the souls of the singers have entered into the songs that revealed
them,—­
Passionate songs, immortal songs of joy and grief and love and longing,
Floating from heart to heart of thy children, they echo above thee: 
Do they not utter thy heart, the voices of those that love thee?

Long hadst thou lain like a queen transformed by some old enchantment
Into an alien shape, mysterious, beautiful, speechless,
Knowing not who thou wert, till the touch of thy Lord and Lover
Wakened the man-child within thee to tell thy secret. 
All of thy flowers and birds and forests and flowing waters
Are but the rhythmical forms to reveal the life of the spirit;
Thou thyself, earth-mother, in mountain and meadow and ocean,
Holdest the poem of God, eternal thought and emotion.

December, 1905.

MILTON

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