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.

  What knew I then of trouble? 
    An idle little lad,
  I had not learned the lessons
    That make men wise and sad. 
  I dreamed of grief and parting,
    And something seemed to fill
  My heart with tears, while in my ears
    Resounded “whip-poor-will.”
    “Whippoorwill! whippoorwill!
    Sad and shrill,—­“whippoorwill!

  ’Twas but a cloud of sadness,
    That lightly passed away;
  But I have learned the meaning
    Of sorrow, since that day. 
  For nevermore at twilight,
    Beside the silent mill,
  I’ll wait for you, in the falling dew,
    And hear the whip-poor-will.
    “Whippoorwill! whippoorwill!
    Sad and shrill,—­“whippoorwill!

  But if you still remember
    In that fair land of light,
  The pains and fears that touch us
    Along this edge of night,
  I think all earthly grieving,
    And all our mortal ill,
  To you must seem like a sad boy’s dream. 
    Who hears the whip-poor-will.
    “Whippoorwill! whippoorwill!
    A passing thrill,—­“whippoorwill!



Deep in the heart of the forest the lily of Yorrow is growing;
Blue is its cup as the sky, and with mystical odour o’erflowing;
Faintly it falls through the shadowy glades when the south wind is


Sweet are the primroses pale and the violets after a shower;
Sweet are the borders of pinks and the blossoming grapes on the bower;
Sweeter by far is the breath of that far-away woodland flower.

Searching and strange in its sweetness, it steals like a perfume
Under the arch of the forest, and all who perceive it are haunted,
Seeking and seeking for ever, till sight of the lily is granted.

Who can describe how it grows, with its chalice of lazuli leaning
Over a crystalline spring, where the ferns and the mosses are greening? 
Who can imagine its beauty, or utter the depth of its meaning?

Calm of the journeying stars, and repose of the mountains olden,
Joy of the swift-running rivers, and glory of sunsets golden,
Secrets that cannot be told in the heart of the flower are holden.

  Surely to see it is peace and the crown of a life-long endeavour;
  Surely to pluck it is gladness,—­but they who have found it can never
  Tell of the gladness and peace:  they are hid from our vision for ever.

  ’Twas but a moment ago that a comrade was walking near me: 
  Turning aside from the pathway he murmured a greeting to cheer me,—­
  Then he was lost in the shade, and I called but he did not hear me.

  Why should I dream he is dead, and bewail him with passionate sorrow? 
  Surely I know there is gladness in finding the lily of Yorrow: 
  He has discovered it first, and perhaps I shall find it to-morrow.

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