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.
  I took the place she showed me at her side;
  And then the talk flowed on with brimming tide
  Through the still night,
  While she with influence light
  Controlled it, as the moon the flood. 
  She knew where I had been, what I had done,
  What work was planned, and what begun;
  My troubles, failures, fears she understood,
  And touched them with a heart so kind,
  That every care was melted from my mind,
  And every hope grew bright,
  And life seemed moving on to happy ends. 
  (Ah, what self-beggared fool was he
  That said a woman cannot be
  The very best of friends?)
  Then there were memories of old times,
  Recalled with many a gentle jest;
  And at the last she brought the book of rhymes
  We made together, trying to translate
  The Songs of Heine (hers were always best). 
  “Now come,” she said,
  “To-night we will collaborate
  Again; I’ll put you to the test. 
  Here’s one I never found the way to do,—­
  The simplest are the hardest ones, you know,—­
  I give this song to you.” 
  And then she read: 
       Mein Kind, wir waren Kinder,
        Zwei Kinder, jung und froh.

* * * * *

  But all the while, a silent question stirred
  Within me, though I dared not speak the word: 
  “Is it herself, and is she truly here,
  And was I dreaming when I heard
  That she was dead last year? 
  Or was it true, and is she but a shade
  Who brings a fleeting joy to eye and ear,
  Cold though so kind, and will she gently fade
  When her sweet ghostly part is played
  And the light-curtain falls at dawn of day?”

  But while my heart was troubled by this fear
  So deeply that I could not speak it out,
  Lest all my happiness should disappear,
  I thought me of a cunning way
  To hide the question and dissolve the doubt. 
  “Will you not give me now your hand,
  Dear Marguerite,” I asked, “to touch and hold,
  That by this token I may understand
  You are the same true friend you were of old?”
  She answered with a smile so bright and calm
  It seemed as if I saw the morn arise
  In the deep heaven of her eyes;
  And smiling so, she laid her palm
  In mine.  Dear God, it was not cold
  But warm with vital heat! 
  “You live!” I cried, “you live, dear Marguerite!”
  When I awoke; but strangely comforted,
  Although I knew again that she was dead.


  Yes, there’s the dream!  And was it sweet or sad? 
  Dear mistress of my waking and my sleep,
  Present reward of all my heart’s desire,
  Watching with me beside the winter fire,
  Interpret now this vision that I had. 
  But while you read the meaning, let me keep
  The touch of you:  for the Old Year with storm
  Is passing through the midnight, and doth shake
  The corners of the house,—­and oh! my heart would break
  Unless both dreaming and awake
  My hand could feel your hand was warm, warm, warm!

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