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A Noon Song

    THERE are songs for the morning and songs for the night,
    For sunrise and sunset, the stars and the moon;
    But who will give praise to the fulness of light,
    And sing us a song of the glory of noon?
         Oh, the high noon, the clear noon,
             The noon with golden crest;
         When the blue sky burns, and the great sun turns
             With his face to the way of the west!

    How swiftly he rose in the dawn of his strength;
    How slowly he crept as the morning wore by;
    Ah, steep was the climbing that led him at length
    To the height of his throne in the wide summer sky.
         Oh, the long toil, the slow toil,
             The toil that may not rest,
         Till the sun looks down from his journey's crown,
             To the wonderful way of the west!

    Then a quietness falls over meadow and hill,
    The wings of the wind in the forest are furled,
    The river runs softly, the birds are all still,
    The workers are resting all over the world.
         Oh, the good hour, the kind hour,
             The hour that calms the breast!
         Little inn half-way on the road of the day,
             Where it follows the turn to the west!

    There's a plentiful feast in the maple-tree shade,
    The lilt of a song to an old-fashioned tune,
    The talk of a friend, or the kiss of a maid,
    To sweeten the cup that we drink to the noon.
         Oh, the deep noon, the full noon,
             Of all the day the best!
         When the blue sky burns, and the great sun turns
             To his home by the way of the west.

    Henry Van Dyke

If All The Skies

    IF all the skies were sunshine,
    Our faces would be fain
    To feel once more upon them
    The cooling plash of rain.

    If all the world were music,
    Our hearts would often long
    For one sweet strain of silence,
    To break the endless song.

    If life were always merry,
    Our souls would seek relief,
    And rest from weary laughter
    In the quiet arms of grief.

    Henry Van Dyke

When Tulips Bloom

    I

    WHEN tulips bloom in Union Aquare,
    And timid breaths of vernal air
    Go wandering down the dusty town,
    Like children lost in Vanity Fair;

    When every long, unlovely row
    Of westward houses stands aglow,
    And leads the eyes to sunset skies
    Beyond the hills where green trees grow;

    Then wearly seems the street parade,
    And weary books, and weary trade:
    I'm only wishing to go a-fishing;
    For this the month of May was made.

    II

    I guess the pussy-willows now
    Are creeping out on every bough
    Along the brook; and robins look
    For early worms behind the plough.

    The thistle-birds have changed their dun,
    For yellow coats, to match the sun;
    And in the same array of flame
    The Dandelion Show's begun.

    The flocks of young anemones
    Are dancing round the budding trees:
    Who can help wishing to go a-fishing
    In days as full of joy as these?

    III

    I think the meadow-lark's clear sound
    Leaks upward slowly from the ground,
    While on the wing the bluebirds ring
    Their wedding-bells to woods around.

    The flirting chewink calls his dear
    Behind the bush; and very near,
    Where water flows, where green grass grows,
    Song-sparrows gently sing, "Good cheer."

    And, best of all, through twilight's calm
    The hermit-thrush repeats his psalm.
    How mush I'm wishing to go a-fishing
    In days so sweet with music's balm!

    IV

    'Tis not a proud desire of mine;
    I ask for nothing superfine;
    No heavy weight, no salmon great,
    To break the record, or my line.

    Only an idle little stream,
    Whose amber waters softly gleam,
    Where I may wade, through woodland shade,
    And cast the fly, and loaf, and dream:

    Only a trout or two, to dart
    From foaming pools, and try my art:
    'Tis all I'm wishing--old-fashioned fishing,
    And just a day on Nature's heart.

    Henry Van Dyke

Four Things

    FOUR things a man must learn to do
    If he would make his record true:
    To think without confusion clearly;
    To love his fellow man sincerely;
    To act from honest motives purely;
    To trust in God and Heaven securely.

    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 crumblyh castles and the statues and 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 foutains filled;
    But, oh, to take your had, my dear, and ramble for a day
    In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her sway!

    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.

    Henry Van Dyke

Christ of Everywhere

    "CHRIST of the Andes," Christ of Everywhere,
    Great lover of the hills, the open air,
    And patient lover of impatient men
    Who blindly strive and sin and strive again, --
    Thou Living Word, larger than any creed,
    Thou Love Divine, uttered in human deed, --
    Oh, teach the world, warring and wandering still,
    Thy way of Peace, the foot path of Good Will!

    Henry Van Dyke

Hymn of Joy

    TO THE MUSIC OF BEETHOVEN'S NINTH SYMPHONY

    JOYFUL, joyful we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love,
    Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, hail Thee as the sun above.
    Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away;
    Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day.

    All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heav'n reflect Thy rays,
    Stars and agnels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise;
    Field and forest, vale and moutain, flow'ry meadow, flashing sea,
    Chanting birds and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

    Thou art givind and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
    Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest.
    Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
    Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the Joy Divine.

    Mortals, join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began,
    Father love is reigning o'er us, brother love binds man to man.
    Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife;
    Joyful music lifts us sunward, in the triumph song of life.

    Henry Van Dyke, 1908

They Who Tread the Path of Labor

    THEY who tread the path of labor follow where My feet have trod;
    They who work without complaining, do the holy will of God;
    Nevermore thou needest seek me; I am with thee everywhere;
    Raise the stone, and thou shalt find Me, clease the wood and I am there.

    Where the many toil together, there am I among My own;
    Where the tired workman sleepeth, there am I with him alone:
    I, the Peace that passeth knowledge, dwell amid the daily strife;
    I, the Bread of Heav'n am broken in the sacrement of life.

    Every task, however simple, sets the soul that does it free;
    Every deed of love and mercy, done to man is done to Me.
    Nevermore thou needest seek me; I am with thee everywhere;
    Raise the stone, and thou shalt find Me; cleave the wood, and I am there.

    Henry Van Dyke

Life

    LET me but live my life from year to year,
    With forward face and unreluctant soul;
    Not hurrying to, nor turning from the goal;
    Not mourning for the things that disappear
    In the dim past, nor holding back in fear
    From what the future veils; but with a whole
    And happy heart, that pays its toll
    To Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.

    So let the way wind up the hill or down,
    O'er rough or smooth, the journey will be joy:
    Still seeking what I sought when but a boy,
    New friendship, high adventure, and a crown,
    My heart will keep the courage of the quest,
    And hope the road's last turn will be the best.

    Henry Van Dyke

"Liberty Enlightening The World"

    THOU warden of the western gate, above Manhatten Bay,
    The fogs of doubt that hid thy face are driven clean away:
    Thine eyes at last look far and clear, thou liftest high thy hand
    To spread the light of liberty world-wide for every land.

    No more thou dreamest of a peace reserved alone for thee,
    While friends are fighting for thy cause beyond the guardian sea:
    The battle that they wage is thine; thou fallest if they fall;
    The swollen flood of Prussian pride will sweep unchecked o'er all.

    O cruel is the conquer-lust in Hohenzollern brains;
    The paths they plot to gain their goal are dark with shameful stains:
    No faith they keep, no law revere, no god but naked Might; --
    They are the foemen of mankind. Up, Liberty, and smite!

    Britain, and France, and Italy, and Russia newly born,
    Have waited for thee in the night. Oh, come as comes the morn.
    Serene and strong and full of faith, America, arise,
    With steady hope and mighty help to join th brave Allies.

    O dearest country of my heart, home of the high desire,
    Make clean thy soul for sacrifice on Freedom's altar-fire:
    For thou must suffer, thou must fight, until the warlords cease,
    And all the peoples lift their heads in liberty and peace.

    Henry Van Dyke, April 10, 1917

The Name of France

    GIVE us a name to fill the mind
    With the shining thoughts that lead mankind,
    The glory of learning, the joy of art, --
    A name that tells of a splendid part
    In the long, long toil and the strenuous fight
    Of the human race to win its way
    From the feudal darkness into the day
    Of Freedom, Brotherhood, Equal Right, --
    A name like a star, a name of light.
    I give you France!

    Give us a name to move the heart
    With a warmer glow and a swifter flood, --
    A name like the sound of a trumpet, clear,
    And silver-sweet, and iron-strong,
    That calls three million men to their feet,
    Ready to march, and steady to meet
    The foes who threaten that name with wrong, --
    A name that rings like a battle-song.
    I give you France!

    Give us a name to move the heart
    With the strength that noble griefs impart,
    A name that speaks of the blood outpoured
    To save minkind from the sway of the sword, --
    A name that calls on the world to share
    In the burden of sacrificial strife
    Where the cause at stake is the world's free life
    And the rule of the people everywhere, --
    A name like a vow, a name like a prayer.
    I give you France!

    Henry Van Dyke

Mare Liberum

    YOU dare to say with perjured lips,
    "We fight to make the ocean free"?
    You, whose black trail of butchered ships
    Bestrews the bed of every sea
    Where German submarines have wrought
    Their horrors! Have you never thought, --
    What you call freedom, men call piracy!

    Unnumbered ghosts that haunt the wave
    Where you have murdered, cry you down;
    And seamen whom you would not save,
    Weave now in weed-grown depths a crown
    Of shame for your imperious head, --
    A dark memorial of the dead, --
    Women and children whom you left to drown.

    Nay, not till thieves are set to guard
    The gold, and corsairs called to keep
    O'er peaceful commerce watch and ward,
    And wolves to herd the helpless sheep,
    Shall men and women look to thee --
    Thou ruthless Old Man of the Sea --
    To safeguard law and freedom on the deep!

    In nobler breeds we put our trust:
    The nations in whose sacred lore
    The "Ought" stands out above the "Must,"
    And Honor rules in peace and war.
    With these we hold in soul and heart,
    With these we choose our lot and part,
    Till Liberty is safe on sea and shore.

    Henry Van Dyke, February 11, 1917

Inscription for Katrina's Sun-Dial

    IN HER GARDEN OF YADDO

              HOURS fly
              Flowers die.
              New days,
              New ways,
              Pass by.
              Love Stays
                 - - -
              Time is
    Too Slow for those who Wait,
    Too Swift for those who Fear,
    Too Long for those who Grieve,
    Too Short for those who Rejoice;
          But for those who Love,
              Time is Not.

    Henry Van Dyke

The Good Teacher

    THE Lord is my teacher,
    I shall not lose the way.

    He leadeth me in the lowly path of learning,
    He prepareth a lesson for me every day;
    He bringeth me to the clear fountain of instruction,
    Little by little he showeth me the beauty of truth.

    The world is a great book that he hath written,
    He turneth the leaves for me slowly;
    They are all inscribed with images and letters,
    He poureth light on the pictures and the words.

    He taketh me by hand to the hill-top of vision,
    And my soul is glad when I perceive his meaning;
    In the valley also he walketh beside me,
    In the dark places he wispereth to my heart.

    Even though my lesson is hard it is not hopeless,
    For the Lord is patient with his slow scholar;
    He will await awhile for my weakness,
    And help me to read the truth through tears.

    Henry Van Dyke

The Arrow

    LIFE is an arrow--therefore you must know
    What mark to aim at, how to use the bow--
    Then draw it to the head, and let it go!

    Henry Van Dyke

Inscription for the Sun-Dial at Wells College

    FOR THE CLASS OF 1904

    THE shadow by my finger cast
    Divides the future from the past:
    Before it, sleeps the unborn hour,
    In darkness, and beyond thy power:
    Behind its unreturning line,
    The vanished hour, no longer thine:
    One hour alone is in thy hands,--
    The NOW on which the shadow stands.
    March, 1904.

    Henry Van Dyke

Echoes from the Greek Anthology

        I
    Starlight

    WITH two bright eyes, my star, my love,
    Thou lookest on the stars above:
    Ah, would that I the heaven might be
    With a million eyes to look on thee.
    Plato.

        II
    Roseleaf

    A little while the rose,
    And after that the thorn;
    An hour of dewey morn,
    And then the glamour goes.
    Ah, love in beauth born,
    A little while the rose!
    Unknown.

        III
    Phosphor--Hesper

      O morning star farewell!
      My love I now must leave;
    The hours of day I slowly tell,
    And turn to her with the twilight bell,--
      O welcome, star of eve!
    Meleager.

        IV
    Seasons

    Sweet in summer, cups of snow,
    Cooling thirsty lips aglow;
    Sweet to sailors winter-bound,
    Spring arrives with garlands crowned;
    Sweeter yet the hour that covers
    With one cloak a pair of lovers,
    Living lost in golden weather,
    While they talk of love together.
    Aesclepiades.

        V
    The Vine and the Goat

    Although you eat me to the root,
    I yet shall bear enough of fruit
    For wine to sparkle your dim eyes,
    When you are made a sacrifice.
    Euenus.

        VI
    The Professor

    Seven pupils, in the class
    Of Professor Callias,
    Listen silent while he drawls,--
    Three are benches, four are walls.
    Unknown.

    Henry Van Dyke


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