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.

PRO PATRIA

PATRIA

  I would not even ask my heart to say
    If I could love another land as well
    As thee, my country, had I felt the spell
  Of Italy at birth, or learned to obey
  The charm of France, or England’s mighty sway. 
    I would not be so much an infidel
    As once to dream, or fashion words to tell,
  What land could hold my heart from thee away.

  For like a law of nature in my blood,
    America, I feel thy sovereignty,
      And woven through my soul thy vital sign. 
  My life is but a wave and thou the flood;
    I am a leaf and thou the mother-tree;
      Nor should I be at all, were I not thine.

June, 1904.

AMERICA

  I love thine inland seas,
  Thy groves of giant trees,
    Thy rolling plains;
  Thy rivers’ mighty sweep,
  Thy mystic canyons deep,
  Thy mountains wild and steep,
    All thy domains;

  Thy silver Eastern strands,
  Thy Golden Gate that stands
    Wide to the West;
  Thy flowery Southland fair,
  Thy sweet and crystal air,—­
  O land beyond compare,
    Thee I love best!

March, 1906.

THE ANCESTRAL DWELLINGS

  Dear to my heart are the ancestral dwellings of America,
  Dearer than if they were haunted by ghosts of royal splendour;
  They are simple enough to be great in their friendly dignity,—­
  Homes that were built by the brave beginners of a nation.

I love the old white farmhouses nestled in New England valleys,
Ample and long and low, with elm-trees feathering over them: 
Borders of box in the yard, and lilacs, and old-fashioned roses,
A fan-light above the door, and little square panes in the windows,
The wood-shed piled with maple and birch and hickory ready for winter,
The gambrel-roof with its garret crowded with household relics,—­
All the tokens of prudent thrift and the spirit of self-reliance.

I love the weather-beaten, shingled houses that front the ocean;
They seem to grow out of the rocks, there is something indomitable
about them: 
Their backs are bowed, and their sides are covered with lichens;
Soft in their colour as gray pearls, they are full of a patient courage. 
Facing the briny wind on a lonely shore they stand undaunted,
While the thin blue pennant of smoke from the square-built chimney
Tells of a haven for man, with room for a hearth and a cradle.

I love the stately southern mansions with their tall white columns,
They look through avenues of trees, over fields where the cotton is
growing;
I can see the flutter of white frocks along their shady porches,
Music and laughter float from the windows, the yards

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