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.



  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.


  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.


  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
I can see the flutter of white frocks along their shady porches,
Music and laughter float from the windows, the yards

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