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.

Yet the whispered story does not deepen grief;
But relief
For the loneliness of sorrow seems to flow
From the Long-Ago,
When I think of other lives that learned, like mine,
To resign,
And remember that the sadness of the fall
Comes alike to all.

What regrets, what longings for the lost were theirs I
And what prayers
For the silent strength that nerves us to endure
Things we cannot cure! 
Pacing up and down the garden where they paced,
I have traced
All their well-worn paths of patience, till I find
Comfort in my mind.

Faint and far away their ancient griefs appear: 
Yet how near
Is the tender voice, the careworn, kindly face,
Of the human race! 
Let us walk together in the garden, dearest heart,—­
Not apart! 
They who know the sorrows other lives have known
Never walk alone.

October, 1903.

THE MESSAGE

Waking from tender sleep,
My neighbour’s little child
Put out his baby hand to me,
Looked in my face, and smiled.

  It seems as if he came
    Home from a happy land,
  To bring a message to my heart
    And make me understand.

  Somewhere, among bright dreams,
    A child that once was mine
  Has whispered wordless love to him,
    And given him a sign.

  Comfort of kindly speech,
    And counsel of the wise,
  Have helped me less than what I read
    In those deep-smiling eyes.

  Sleep sweetly, little friend,
    And dream again of heaven: 
  With double love I kiss your hand,—­
    Your message has been given.

November, 1903.

DULCIS MEMORIA

  Long, long ago I heard a little song,
    (Ah, was it long ago, or yesterday?)
  So lowly, slowly wound the tune along,
    That far into my heart it found the way: 
  A melody consoling and endearing;
  And now, in silent hours, I’m often hearing
    The small, sweet song that does not die away.

  Long, long ago I saw a little flower—­
    (Ah, was it long ago, or yesterday?)
  So fair of face and fragrant for an hour,
    That something dear to me it seemed to say,—­
  A wordless joy that blossomed into being;
  And now, in winter days, I’m often seeing
    The friendly flower that does not fade away.

  Long, long ago we had a little child,—­
    (Ah, was it long ago, or yesterday?)
  Into his mother’s eyes and mine he smiled
    Unconscious love; warm in our arms he lay. 
  An angel called!  Dear heart, we could not hold him;
  Yet secretly your arms and mine infold him—­
    Our little child who does not go away.

  Long, long ago?  Ah, memory, make it clear—­
    (It was not long ago, but yesterday.)
  So little and so helpless and so dear—­
    Let not the song be lost, the flower decay! 
  His voice, his waking eyes, his gentle sleeping: 
  The smallest things are safest in thy keeping,—­
    Sweet memory, keep our child with us alway.

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