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.
  Somewhere among these floating fields of ice,
  Somewhere along this westward widening bay,
  Somewhere beneath this luminous northern night,
  The channel opens to the Farthest East,—­
  I know it,—­and some day a little ship
  Will push her bowsprit in, and battle through! 
  And why not ours,—­to-morrow,—­who can tell? 
  The lucky chance awaits the fearless heart! 
  These are the longest days of all the year;
  The world is round and God is everywhere,
  And while our shallop floats we still can steer.

  So point her up, John King, nor’west by north
  We’ll keep the honour of a certain aim
  Amid the peril of uncertain ways,
  And sail ahead, and leave the rest to God.

July, 1909.


  Children of the elemental mother,
    Born upon some lonely island shore
  Where the wrinkled ripples run and whisper,
    Where the crested billows plunge and roar;
  Long-winged, tireless roamers and adventurers,
    Fearless breasters of the wind and sea,
  In the far-off solitary places
    I have seen you floating wild and free!

  Here the high-built cities rise around you;
    Here the cliffs that tower east and west,
  Honeycombed with human habitations,
    Have no hiding for the sea-bird’s nest: 
  Here the river flows begrimed and troubled;
    Here the hurrying, panting vessels fume,
  Restless, up and down the watery highway,
    While a thousand chimneys vomit gloom.

  Toil and tumult, conflict and confusion,
    Clank and clamour of the vast machine
  Human hands have built for human bondage—­
    Yet amid it all you float serene;
  Circling, soaring, sailing, swooping lightly
    Down to glean your harvest from the wave;
  In your heritage of air and water,
    You have kept the freedom Nature gave.

  Even so the wild-woods of Manhattan
    Saw your wheeling flocks of white and gray;
  Even so you fluttered, followed, floated,
    Round the Half-Moon creeping up the bay;
  Even so your voices creaked and chattered. 
    Laughing shrilly o’er the tidal rips,
  While your black and beady eyes were glistening
    Round the sullen British prison-ships.

  Children of the elemental mother,
    Fearless floaters ’mid the double blue,
  From the crowded boats that cross the ferries
    Many a longing heart goes out to you. 
  Though the cities climb and close around us,
    Something tells us that our souls are free,
  While the sea-gulls fly above the harbour,
    While the river flows to meet the sea!

December, 1905.


          The roar of the city is low,
          Muffled by new-fallen snow,
  And the sign of the wintry moon is small and round and still. 
          Will you come with me to-night,
          To see a pleasant sight
  Away on the river-side, at the edge of Claremont Hill?

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