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.

  Brave was that word of faith and bravely was it kept: 
  With never-wearying zeal that faltered not, nor slept,
  Our Alma Mater toiled, and while she firmly laid
  The deep foundation-walls, at all her toil she prayed. 
  And men who loved the truth because it made them free,
  And clearly saw the twofold Word of God agree,
  Reading from Nature’s book and from the Bible’s page
  By the same inward ray that grows from age to age,
  Were built like living stones that beacon to uplift,
  And drawing light from heaven gave to the world the gift. 
  Nor ever, while they searched the secrets of the earth,
  Or traced the stream of life through mystery to its birth,
  Nor ever, while they taught the lightning-flash to bear
  The messages of man in silence through the air,
  Fell from their home of light one false, perfidious ray
  To blind the trusting heart, or lead the life astray. 
  But still, while knowledge grew more luminous and broad
  It lit the path of faith and showed the way to God.

VII

  Yet not for peace alone
    Labour the builders. 
  Work that in peace has grown
  Swiftly is overthrown,
  When in the darkening skies
  Storm-clouds of wrath arise,
  And through the cannon’s crash,
  War’s deadly lightning-flash
    Smites and bewilders. 
  Ramparts of strength must frown
  Round every placid town
    And city splendid;
  All that our fathers wrought
  With true prophetic thought,
    Must be defended!

VIII

But who could raise protecting walls for thee,
Thou young, defenceless land of liberty? 
Or who could build a fortress strong enough,
Or stretch a mighty bulwark long enough
To hold thy far-extended coast
Against the overweening host
That took the open path across the sea,
And like a tempest poured
Their desolating horde,
To quench thy dawning light in gloom of tyranny? 
Yet not unguarded thou wert found
When on thy shore with sullen sound
The blaring trumpets of an unjust king
Proclaimed invasion.  From the ground,
In freedom’s darkest hour, there seemed to spring
Unconquerable walls for her defence;
Not trembling, like those battlements of stone
That fell when Joshua’s horns were blown;
But firm and stark the living rampart rose,
To meet the onset of imperious foes
With a long line of brave, unyielding men. 
This was thy fortress, well-defended land,
And on these walls, the patient, building hand
Of Princeton laboured with the force of ten. 
Her sons were foremost in the furious fight;
Her sons were firmest to uphold the right
In council-chambers of the new-born State,
And prove that he who would be free must first be great
In heart, and high in thought, and strong

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