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.


“Through many a land your journey ran,
And showed the best the world can boast: 
Now tell me, traveller, if you can,
The place that pleased you most.”

  She laid her hands upon my breast,
    And murmured gently in my ear,
  “The place I loved and liked the best
    Was in your arms, my dear!”


  Yes, it was like you to forget,
  And cancel in the welcome of your smile
  My deep arrears of debt,
  And with the putting forth of both your hands
  To sweep away the bars my folly set
  Between us—­bitter thoughts, and harsh demands,
  And reckless deeds that seemed untrue
  To love, when all the while
  My heart was aching through and through
  For you, sweet heart, and only you.

  Yet, as I turned to come to you again,
  I thought there must be many a mile
  Of sorrowful reproach to cross,
  And many an hour of mutual pain
  To bear, until I could make plain
  That all my pride was but the fear of loss,
  And all my doubt the shadow of despair
  To win a heart so innocent and fair;
  And even that which looked most ill
  Was but the fever-fret and effort vain
  To dull the thirst which you alone could still.

  But as I turned, the desert miles were crossed,
  And when I came, the weary hours were sped! 
  For there you stood beside the open door,
  Glad, gracious, smiling as before,
  And with bright eyes and tender hands outspread
  Restored me to the Eden I had lost. 
  Never a word of cold reproof,
  No sharp reproach, no glances that accuse
  The culprit whom they hold aloof,—­
  Ah, ’tis not thus that other women use
  The empire they have won! 
  For there is none like you, beloved,—­none
  Secure enough to do what you have done. 
  Where did you learn this heavenly art,—­
  You sweetest and most wise of all that live,—­
  With silent welcome to impart
  Assurance of the royal heart
  That never questions where it would forgive?

  None but a queen could pardon me like this! 
  My sovereign lady, let me lay
  Within each rosy palm a loyal kiss
  Of penitence, then close the fingers up,
  Thus—­thus!  Now give the cup
  Of full nepenthe in your crimson mouth,
  And come—­the garden blooms with bliss,
  The wind is in the south,
  The rose of love with dew is wet—­
  Dear, it was like you to forget!


 How long is the night, brother,
    And how long is the day?

  Oh, the day’s too short for a happy task,
    And the day’s too short for play;
  And the night’s too short for the bliss of love,
    For look, how the edge of the sky grows gray,
  While the stars die out in the blue above,
    And the wan moon fades away.

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