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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.

“AMERICA FOR ME”

  ’Tis fine to see the Old World, and travel up and down
  Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
  To admire the crumbly castles and the statues of the kings,—­
  But now I think I’ve had enough of antiquated things.

   So it’s home again, and home again, America for me! 
    My heart is turning home again, and there I long to be,
    In the land of youth and freedom beyond the ocean bars,
    Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

  Oh, London is a man’s town, there’s power in the air;
  And Paris is a woman’s town, with flowers in her hair;
  And it’s sweet to dream in Venice, and it’s great to study Rome;
  But when it comes to living there is no place like home.

  I like the German fir-woods, in green battalions drilled;
  I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing fountains filled;
  But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day
  In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her way!

  I know that Europe’s wonderful, yet something seems to lack: 
  The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back. 
  But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free,—­
  We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.

   Oh, it’s home again, and home again, America for me! 
    I want a ship that’s westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
    To the blessed Land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
    Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

June, 1909.

THE BUILDERS

ODE FOR THE HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF PRINCETON COLLEGE

October 21, 1896

I

  Into the dust of the making of man
  Spirit was breathed when his life began,
  Lifting him up from his low estate,
  With masterful passion, the wish to create. 
  Out of the dust of his making, man
  Fashioned his works as the ages ran;
  Fortress, and palace, and temple, and tower,
  Filling the world with the proof of his power. 
  Over the dust that awaits him, man,
  Building the walls that his pride doth plan,
  Dreams they will stand in the light of the sun
  Bearing his name till Time is done.

II

The monuments of mortals
Are as the glory of the grass;
Through Time’s dim portals
A voiceless, viewless wind doth pass,
The blossoms fall before it in a day,
The forest monarchs year by year decay,
And man’s great buildings slowly fade away. 
One after one,
They pay to that dumb breath
The tribute of their death,
And are undone. 
The towers incline to dust,
The massive girders rust,
The domes dissolve in air,
The pillars that upbear
The lofty arches crumble, stone by stone,
While man the builder looks about him in despair,
For all his works of pride and power are overthrown.

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