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.

I

  Lover of beauty, walking on the height
    Of pure philosophy and tranquil song;
    Born to behold the visions that belong
  To those who dwell in melody and light;
  Milton, thou spirit delicate and bright! 
    What drew thee down to join the Roundhead throng
    Of iron-sided warriors, rude and strong,
  Fighting for freedom in a world half night?

  Lover of Liberty at heart wast thou,
    Above all beauty bright, all music clear: 
  To thee she bared her bosom and her brow,
    Breathing her virgin promise in thine ear,
  And bound thee to her with a double vow,—­
    Exquisite Puritan, grave Cavalier!

II

  The cause, the cause for which thy soul resigned
    Her singing robes to battle on the plain,
    Was won, O poet, and was lost again;
  And lost the labour of thy lonely mind
  On weary tasks of prose.  What wilt thou find
    To comfort thee for all the toil and pain? 
    What solace, now thy sacrifice is vain
  And thou art left forsaken, poor, and blind?

  Like organ-music comes the deep reply: 
    “The cause of truth looks lost, but shall be won. 
  For God hath given to mine inward eye
    Vision of England soaring to the sun. 
  And granted me great peace before I die,
    In thoughts of lowly duty bravely done.”

III

  O bend again above thine organ-board,
    Thou blind old poet longing for repose! 
    Thy Master claims thy service not with those
  Who only stand and wait for His reward;
  He pours the heavenly gift of song restored
    Into thy breast, and bids thee nobly close
    A noble life, with poetry that flows
  In mighty music of the major chord.

  Where hast thou learned this deep, majestic strain,
    Surpassing all thy youthful lyric grace,
  To sing of Paradise?  Ah, not in vain
    The griefs that won at Dante’s side thy place,
  And made thee, Milton, by thy years of pain,
    The loftiest poet of the English race!

1908.

WORDSWORTH

  Wordsworth, thy music like a river rolls
    Among the mountains, and thy song is fed
    By living springs far up the watershed;
  No whirling flood nor parching drought controls
  The crystal current:  even on the shoals
    It murmurs clear and sweet; and when its bed
    Deepens below mysterious cliffs of dread,
  Thy voice of peace grows deeper in our souls.

  But thou in youth hast known the breaking stress
    Of passion, and hast trod despair’s dry ground
      Beneath black thoughts that wither and destroy. 
  Ah, wanderer, led by human tenderness
    Home to the heart of Nature, thou hast found
      The hidden Fountain of Recovered Joy.

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