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.

  But Whitman, loafing in Long Island and New Jersey,
  Found there the sustenance of mighty ode and psalm,
  And while his rude emotions swam around in verse, he
  Fed chiefly on the wild, impassioned, sea-born clam.

  Thus in his work we feel the waves’ bewildering motion,
  And winds from mighty mud-flats, weird and wild: 
  His clam-filled bosom answered to the voice of ocean,
  And rose and fell responsively with every tide.

III

IL MERCATORE ITALIANO DELLA CLAMMA

For the Century Magazine

  “Clam O!  Fres’ Clam!” How strange it sounds and sweet,
  The Dago’s cry along the New York street! 
  “Dago” we call him, like the thoughtless crowd;
  And yet this humble man may well be proud
  To hail from Petrarch’s land, Boccaccio’s home,—­
  Firenze, Gubbio, Venezia, Rome,—­
  From fair Italia, whose enchanted soil
  Transforms the lowly cotton-seed to olive-oil.

  To me his chant, with alien accent sung,
  Brings back an echo of great Virgil’s tongue: 
  It seems to cry against the city’s woe,
  In liquid Latin syllables,—­Clamo
  As thro’ the crowded street his cart he jams
  And cries aloud, ah, think of more than clams! 
  Receive his secret plaint with pity warm,
  And grant Italia’s plea for Tenement-House Reform!

IV

THE SOCIAL CLAM

For the Smart Set

  Fair Phyllis is another’s bride: 
  Therefore I like to sit beside
  Her at a very smart set dinner,
  And whisper love, and try to win her.

  The little-necks,—­in number six,—­
  That from their pearly shells she picks
  And swallows whole,—­ah, is it selfish
  To wish my heart among those shell-fish?

  “But Phyllis is another’s wife;
  And if she should absorb thy life
  ’Twould leave thy bosom vacant.”—­Well,
  I’d keep at least the empty shell!

V

THE RECREANT CLAM

For the Outlook

  Low dost thou lie amid the languid ooze,
  Because thy slothful spirit doth refuse
  The bliss of battle and the strain of strife. 
  Rise, craven clam, and lead the strenuous life!

A FAIRY TALE

For the Mark Twain Dinner, December 5, 1905

    Some three-score years and ten ago
    A prince was born at Florida, Mo.;
    And though he came incognito,
    With just the usual yells of woe,
    The watchful fairies seemed to know
          Precisely what the row meant;
    For when he was but five days old,
    (December fifth as I’ve been told,)
    They pattered through the midnight cold,
    And came around his crib, to hold
          A “Council of Endowment.”

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