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.

      A thousand times by night
      The Syrian hosts have died;
  A thousand times the vanquished right
      Hath risen, glorified.

      The truth the wise men sought
      Was spoken by a child;
  The alabaster box was brought
      In trembling hands defiled.

      Not from my torch, the gleam,
  But from the stars above: 
      Not from my heart, life’s crystal stream,
      But from the depths of Love.


  The mountains that inclose the vale
    With walls of granite, steep and high,
  Invite the fearless foot to scale
    Their stairway toward the sky.

  The restless, deep, dividing sea
    That flows and foams from shore to shore,
  Calls to its sunburned chivalry,
    “Push out, set sail, explore!”

  The bars of life at which we fret,
    That seem to prison and control,
  Are but the doors of daring, set
    Ajar before the soul.

  Say not, “Too poor,” but freely give;
    Sigh not, “Too weak,” but boldly try;
  You never can begin to live
    Until you dare to die.


  When to the garden of untroubled thought
    I came of late, and saw the open door,
    And wished again to enter, and explore
  The sweet, wild ways with stainless bloom inwrought,
  And bowers of innocence with beauty fraught,
    It seemed some purer voice must speak before
    I dared to tread that garden loved of yore,
  That Eden lost unknown and found unsought.

  Then just within the gate I saw a child,—­
    A stranger-child, yet to my heart most dear;
  He held his hands to me, and softly smiled
    With eyes that knew no shade of sin or fear: 
  “Come in,” he said, “and play awhile with me;
  I am the little child you used to be.”


  For that thy face is fair I love thee not;
    Nor yet because thy brown benignant eyes
    Have sudden gleams of gladness and surprise,
  Like woodland brooks that cross a sunlit spot: 
  Nor for thy body, born without a blot,
    And loveliest when it shines with no disguise
    Pure as the star of Eve in Paradise,—­
  For all these outward things I love thee not: 

  But for a something in thy form and face,
    Thy looks and ways, of primal harmony;
  A certain soothing charm, a vital grace
    That breathes of the eternal womanly,
  And makes me feel the warmth of Nature’s breast,
  When in her arms, and thine, I sink to rest.


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