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.

XII

  O Thou whose boundless love bestows
    The joy of earth, the hope of Heaven,
  And whose unchartered mercy flows
    O’er all the blessings Thou hast given;
  Thou by whose light alone we see;
  And by whose truth our souls set free
  Are made imperishably strong;
  Hear Thou the solemn music of our song.

  Grant us the knowledge that we need
    To solve the questions of the mind,
  And light our candle while we read,
    To keep our hearts from going blind;
  Enlarge our vision to behold
  The wonders Thou hast wrought of old;
  Reveal thyself in every law,
  And gild the towers of truth with holy awe.

  Be Thou our strength if war’s wild gust
    Shall rage around us, loud and fierce;
  Confirm our souls and let our trust
    Be like a shield that none can pierce;
  Renew the courage that prevails,
  The steady faith that never fails,
  And make us stand in every fight
  Firm as a fortress to defend the right.

  O God, control us as Thou wilt,
    And guide the labour of our hand;
  Let all our work be surely built
    As Thou, the architect, hast planned;
  But whatso’er thy power shall make
  Of these frail lives, do not forsake
  Thy dwelling:  let thy presence rest
  For ever in the temple of our breast.

SPIRIT OF THE EVERLASTING BOY

ODE FOR THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF LAWRENCEVILLE SCHOOL

June 11, 1910

I

  The British bard who looked on Eton’s walls,
  Endeared by distance in the pearly gray
  And soft aerial blue that ever falls
  On English landscape with the dying day,
  Beheld in thought his boyhood far away,
  Its random raptures and its festivals
      Of noisy mirth,
  The brief illusion of its idle joys,
  And mourned that none of these can stay
  With men, whom life inexorably calls
  To face the grim realities of earth. 
  His pensive fancy pictured there at play
  From year to year the careless bands of boys,
  Unconscious victims kept in golden state,
      While haply they await
  The dark approach of disenchanting Fate,
      To hale them to the sacrifice
  Of Pain and Penury and Grief and Care,
  Slow-withering Age, or Failure’s swift despair. 
  Half-pity and half-envy dimmed the eyes
  Of that old poet, gazing on the scene
  Where long ago his youth had flowed serene,
  And all the burden of his ode was this: 
      “Where ignorance is bliss,
      ’Tis folly to be wise.”

II

  But not for us, O plaintive elegist,
  Thine epicedial tone of sad farewell
  To joy in wisdom and to thought in youth! 
  Our western Muse would keep her tryst
  With sunrise, not with sunset, and foretell
  In boyhood’s bliss the dawn of manhood’s truth.

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