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.

1900.

SCHOOL

  I put my heart to school
  In the world where men grow wise: 
  “Go out,” I said, “and learn the rule;
  Come back when you win a prize.”

  My heart came back again: 
  “Now where is the prize?” I cried.—­
  “The rule was false, and the prize was pain,
  And the teacher’s name was Pride.”

  I put my heart to school
  In the woods where veeries sing
  And brooks run clear and cool,
  In the fields where wild flowers spring.

  “And why do you stay so long
  My heart, and where do you roam?”
  The answer came with a laugh and a song,—­
  “I find this school is home.”

April, 1901.

INDIAN SUMMER

  A silken curtain veils the skies,
  And half conceals from pensive eyes
    The bronzing tokens of the fall;
  A calmness broods upon the hills,
  And summer’s parting dream distils
    A charm of silence over all.

  The stacks of corn, in brown array,
  Stand waiting through the tranquil day,
    Like tattered wigwams on the plain;
  The tribes that find a shelter there
  Are phantom peoples, forms of air,
    And ghosts of vanished joy and pain.

  At evening when the crimson crest
  Of sunset passes down the West,
    I hear the whispering host returning;
  On far-off fields, by elm and oak,
  I see the lights, I smell the smoke,—­
    The Camp-fires of the Past are burning.

Tertius and Henry van Dyke.

November, 1903.

SPRING IN THE NORTH

I

  Ah, who will tell me, in these leaden days,
  Why the sweet Spring delays,
  And where she hides,—­the dear desire
    Of every heart that longs
  For bloom, and fragrance, and the ruby fire
  Of maple-buds along the misty hills,
  And that immortal call which fills
    The waiting wood with songs? 
  The snow-drops came so long ago,
    It seemed that Spring was near! 
    But then returned the snow
  With biting winds, and earth grew sere,
    And sullen clouds drooped low
  To veil the sadness of a hope deferred: 
  Then rain, rain, rain, incessant rain
    Beat on the window-pane,
  Through which I watched the solitary bird
  That braved the tempest, buffeted and tossed
  With rumpled feathers down the wind again. 
    Oh, were the seeds all lost
  When winter laid the wild flowers in their tomb? 
    I searched the woods in vain
  For blue hepaticas, and trilliums white,
  And trailing arbutus, the Spring’s delight,
  Starring the withered leaves with rosy bloom. 
    But every night the frost
  To all my longing spoke a silent nay,
  And told me Spring was far away. 
  Even the robins were too cold to sing,
  Except a broken and discouraged note,—­
  Only the tuneful sparrow, on whose throat
  Music has put her triple finger-print,
  Lifted his head and sang my heart a hint,—­
  “Wait, wait, wait! oh, wait a while for Spring!”

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