The Poems of Henry Van Dyke eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 381 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.

  The tide runs out of the harbour,—­
    The low tide, the slow tide, the ebb o’ the moonlit bay,—­
  And the little ships rocking at anchor,
    Are rounding and turning their bows to the landward, yearning
      To breathe the breath of the sun-warmed strand,
      To rest in the lee of the high hill land,—­
  To hold their haven and stay!

  My heart goes round with the vessels,—­
    My wild heart, my child heart, in love with the sea and the land,—­
  And the turn o’ the tide passes through it,
    In rising and falling with mystical currents, calling
      At morn, to range where the far waves foam,
      At night, to a harbour in love’s true home,
    With the hearts that understand!

Seal Harbour, August 12, 1911.


  O Mother mountains! billowing far to the snow-lands,
    Robed in aerial amethyst, silver, and blue,
  Why do ye look so proudly down on the lowlands? 
    What have their groves and gardens to do with you?

  Theirs is the languorous charm of the orange and myrtle,
    Theirs are the fruitage and fragrance of Eden of old,—­
  Broad-boughed oaks in the meadows fair and fertile,
    Dark-leaved orchards gleaming with globes of gold.

  You, in your solitude standing, lofty and lonely,
    Bear neither garden nor grove on your barren breasts;
  Rough is the rock-loving growth of your canyons, and only
    Storm-battered pines and fir-trees cling to your crests.

  Why are ye throned so high, and arrayed in splendour
    Richer than all the fields at your feet can claim? 
  What is your right, ye rugged peaks, to the tender
    Queenly promise and pride of the mother-name?

  Answered the mountains, dim in the distance dreaming: 
    “Ours are the forests that treasure the riches of rain;
  Ours are the secret springs and the rivulets gleaming
    Silverly down through the manifold bloom of the plain.

  “Vain were the toiling of men in the dust of the dry land,
    Vain were the ploughing and planting in waterless fields,
  Save for the life-giving currents we send from the sky-land,
    Save for the fruit our embrace with the storm-cloud yields.”

  O mother mountains, Madre Sierra, I love you! 
    Rightly you reign o’er the vale that your bounty fills—­
  Kissed by the sun, or with big, bright stars above you,—­
    I murmur your name and lift up mine eyes to the hills.

Pasadena, March, 1913.



  What makes the lingering Night so cling to thee? 
  Thou vast, profound, primeval hiding-place
  Of ancient secrets,—­gray and ghostly gulf
  Cleft in the green of this high forest land,
  And crowded in the dark with giant forms! 
  Art thou a grave, a prison, or a shrine?

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