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.
  Thy waters, gathered from the snows and springs
  Amid the Utah hills, have carved this road
  Of glory to the Californian Gulf. 
  But now, O sunken stream, thy splendour lost,
  ’Twixt iron walls thou rollest turbid waves,
  Too far away to make their fury heard!

  At sight of thee, thou sullen labouring slave
  Of gravitation,—­yellow torrent poured
  From distant mountains by no will of thine,
  Through thrice a hundred centuries of slow
  Fallings and liftings of the crust of Earth,—­
  At sight of thee my spirit sinks and fails. 
  Art thou alone the Maker?  Is the blind
  Unconscious power that drew thee dumbly down
  To cut this gash across the layered globe,
  The sole creative cause of all I see? 
  Are force and matter all?  The rest a dream?

  Then is thy gorge a canyon of despair,
  A prison for the soul of man, a grave
  Of all his dearest daring hopes!  The world
  Wherein we live and move is meaningless,
  No spirit here to answer to our own! 
  The stars without a guide:  The chance-born Earth
  Adrift in space, no Captain on the ship: 
  Nothing in all the universe to prove
  Eternal wisdom and eternal love! 
  And man, the latest accident of Time,—­
  Who thinks he loves, and longs to understand,
  Who vainly suffers, and in vain is brave,
  Who dupes his heart with immortality,—­
  Man is a living lie,—­a bitter jest
  Upon himself,—­a conscious grain of sand
  Lost in a desert of unconsciousness,
  Thirsting for God and mocked by his own thirst.

  Spirit of Beauty, mother of delight,
  Thou fairest offspring of Omnipotence
  Inhabiting this lofty lone abode,
  Speak to my heart again and set me free
  From all these doubts that darken earth and heaven! 
  Who sent thee forth into the wilderness
  To bless and comfort all who see thy face? 
  Who clad thee in this more than royal robe
  Of rainbows?  Who designed these jewelled thrones
  For thee, and wrought these glittering palaces? 
  Who gave thee power upon the soul of man
  To lift him up through wonder into joy? 
  God! let the radiant cliffs bear witness, God! 
  Let all the shining pillars signal, God! 
  He only, on the mystic loom of light. 
  Hath woven webs of loveliness to clothe
  His most majestic works:  and He alone
  Hath delicately wrought the cactus-flower
  To star the desert floor with rosy bloom.

  O Beauty, handiwork of the Most High,
  Where’er thou art He tells his Love to man,
  And lo, the day breaks, and the shadows flee!

  Now, far beyond all language and all art
  In thy wild splendour, Canyon marvellous,
  The secret of thy stillness lies unveiled
  In wordless worship!  This is holy ground;
  Thou art no grave, no prison, but a shrine. 
  Garden of Temples filled with Silent Praise,
  If God were blind thy Beauty could not be!

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