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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.

  White Death had laid his pall upon the plain,
    And crowned the mountain-peaks like monarchs dead;
    The vault of heaven was glaring overhead
  With pitiless light that filled my eyes with pain;
  And while I vainly longed, and looked in vain
    For sign or trace of life, my spirit said,
    “Shall any living thing that dares to tread
  This royal lair of Death escape again?”

  But even then I saw before my feet
    A line of pointed footprints in the snow: 
    Some roving chamois, but an hour ago,
  Had passed this way along his journey fleet,
  And left a message from a friend unknown
  To cheer my pilgrim-heart, no more alone.

Zermatt, 1872.

III

MOVING BELLS

  I love the hour that comes, with dusky hair
    And dewy feet, along the Alpine dells,
    To lead the cattle forth.  A thousand bells
  Go chiming after her across the fair
  And flowery uplands, while the rosy flare
    Of sunset on the snowy mountain dwells,
    And valleys darken, and the drowsy spells
  Of peace are woven through the purple air.

  Dear is the magic of this hour:  she seems
    To walk before the dark by falling rills,
  And lend a sweeter song to hidden streams;
    She opens all the doors of night, and fills
  With moving bells the music of my dreams,
    That wander far among the sleeping hills.

Gstaad, August, 1909.

MATINS

  Flowers rejoice when night is done,
  Lift their heads to greet the sun;
  Sweetest looks and odours raise,
  In a silent hymn of praise.

  So my heart would turn away
  From the darkness to the day;
  Lying open in God’s sight
  Like a flower in the light.

THE PARTING AND THE COMING GUEST

  Who watched the worn-out Winter die? 
    Who, peering through the window-pane
    At nightfall, under sleet and rain
  Saw the old graybeard totter by? 
  Who listened to his parting sigh,
    The sobbing of his feeble breath,
    His whispered colloquy with Death,
    And when his all of life was done
  Stood near to bid a last good-bye? 
    Of all his former friends not one
  Saw the forsaken Winter die.

  Who welcomed in the maiden Spring? 
    Who heard her footfall, swift and light
    As fairy-dancing in the night? 
  Who guessed what happy dawn would bring
  The flutter of her bluebird’s wing,
  The blossom of her mayflower-face
    To brighten every shady place? 
    One morning, down the village street,
  “Oh, here am I,” we heard her sing,—­
    And none had been awake to greet
  The coming of the maiden Spring.

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