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.

II

                  What rapture of new life
  Must come to one for whom a silent world
  Is suddenly made vocal, and whose heart
  By the same magic is awaked at once,
  Without the learner’s toil and long delay,
  Out of a night of dumbly moving dreams,
  Into a day that overflows with music! 
  This joy was Vera’s; and to her it seemed
  As if a new creative morn had risen
  Upon the earth, and after the full week
  When living things unfolded silently,
  And after the long, quiet Sabbath day,
  When all was still, another day had dawned,
  And through the calm expectancy of heaven
  A secret voice had said, “Let all things speak.” 
  The world responded with an instant joy;
  And all the unseen avenues of sound
  Were thronged with varying forms of viewless life.

  To every living thing a voice was given
  Distinct and personal.  The forest trees
  Were not more varied in their shades of green
  Than in their tones of speech; and every bird
  That nested in their branches had a song
  Unknown to other birds and all his own. 
  The waters spoke a hundred dialects
  Of one great language; now with pattering fall
  Of raindrops on the glistening leaves, and now
  With steady roar of rivers rushing down
  To meet the sea, and now with rhythmic throb
  And measured tumult of tempestuous waves,
  And now with lingering lisp of creeping tides,—­
  The manifold discourse of many waters. 
  But most of all the human voice was full
  Of infinite variety, and ranged
  Along the scale of life’s experience
  With changing tones, and notes both sweet and sad,
  All fitted to express some unseen thought,
  Some vital motion of the hidden heart. 
  So Vera listened with her new-born sense
  To all the messengers that passed the gates,
  In measureless delight and utter trust,
  Believing that they brought a true report
  From every living thing of its true life,
  And hoping that at last they would make clear
  The mystery and the meaning of the world.

  But soon there came a trouble in her joy,
  A note discordant that dissolved the chord
  And broke the bliss of hearing into pain. 
  Not from the harsher sounds and voices wild
  Of anger and of anguish, that reveal
  The secret strife in nature, and confess
  The touch of sorrow on the heart of life,—­
  From these her trouble came not.  For in these,
  However sad, she felt the note of truth,
  And truth, though sad, is always musical. 
  The raging of the tempest-ridden sea,
  The crash of thunder, and the hollow moan
  Of winds complaining round the mountain-crags,
  The shrill and quavering cry of birds of prey,
  The fiercer roar of conflict-loving beasts,—­
  All these wild sounds are potent in their

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