Tag Archives: Henry van Dyke

A mother’s love and tender care and white tulips

white tulips, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

white tulips, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul
A Prayer for a Mother’s Birthday
Lord Jesus, Thou hast known
A mother’s love and tender care:
And Thou wilt hear, while for my own
Mother most dear I make this birthday prayer.

Protect her life, I pray,
Who gave the gift of life to me;
And may she know, from day to day,
The deepening glow of Life that comes from Thee.

As once upon her breast
Fearless and well content I lay,
So let her heart, on Thee at rest,
Feel fears depart and troubles fade away.

Her every wish fulfill;
And even if Thou must refuse
In anything, let Thy wise will
A comfort bring such as kind mothers use.

Ah, hold her by the hand,
As once her hand held mine;
And though she may not understand
Life’s winding way, lead her in peace divine.

I cannot pay my debt
For all the love that she has given;
But Thou, love’s Lord, wilt not forget
Her due reward,–bless her in earth and heaven.

Henry Van Dyke

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Mystic Color of Tulips and A Legend of Service

yellow tulip, Istanbul Tulip Festival, Pentax K10D

yellow tulip, Istanbul Tulip Festival, Pentax K10D

A Legend of Service

It pleased the Lord of Angels (praise His name!)
To hear, one day, report from those who came
With pitying sorrow, or exultant joy,
To tell of earthly tasks in His employ:
For some were sorry when they saw how slow
The stream of heavenly love on earth must flow;
And some were glad because their eyes had seen,
Along its banks, fresh flowers and living green.
So, at a certain hour, before the throne
The youngest angel, Asmiel, stood alone;
Nor glad, nor sad, but full of earnest thought,
And thus his tidings to the Master brought:
“Lord, in the city Lupon I have found
“Three servants of thy holy name, renowned
“Above their fellows. One is very wise,
“With thoughts that ever range above the skies;
“And one is gifted with the golden speech
“That makes men glad to hear when he will teach;
“And one, with no rare gift or grace endued,
“Has won the people’s love by doing good.
“With three such saints Lupon is trebly blest;
“But, Lord, I fain would know, which loves Thee best?”

Then spake the Lord of Angels, to whose look
The hearts of all are like an open book:
“In every soul the secret thought I read,
“And well I know who loves me best indeed.
“But every life has pages vacant still,
“Whereon a man may write the thing he will;
“Therefore I read in silence, day by day,
“And wait for hearts untaught to learn my way.
“But thou shalt go to Lupon, to the three
“Who serve me there, and take this word from me:
“Tell each of them his Master bids him go
“Alone to Spiran’s huts, across the snow;
“There he shall find a certain task for me:
“But what, I do not tell to them nor thee.
“Give thou the message, make my word the test,
“And crown for me the one who answers best.”
Silent the angel stood, with folded hands,
To take the imprint of his Lord’s commands;
Then drew one breath, obedient and elate,
And passed, the self-same hour, through Lupon’s gate.

First to the Temple door he made his way;
And there, because it was an holy-day,
He saw the folk by thousands thronging, stirred
By ardent thirst to hear the preacher’s word.
Then, while the echoes murmured Bernol’s name,
Through aisles that hushed behind him, Bernol came;
Strung to the keenest pitch of conscious might,
With lips prepared and firm, and eyes alight.
One moment at the pulpit steps he knelt
In silent prayer, and on his shoulder felt
The angel’s hand: –“The Master bids thee go
“Alone to Spiran’s huts, across the snow,
“To serve Him there.” Then Bernol’s hidden face
Went white as death, and for about the space
Of ten slow heart-beats there was no reply;
Till Bernol looked around and whispered, “WHY?”
But answer to his question came there none;
The angel sighed, and with a sigh was gone.

Within the humble house where Malvin spent
His studious years, on holy things intent,
Sweet stillness reigned; and there the angel found
The saintly sage immersed in thought profound,
Weaving with patient toil and willing care
A web of wisdom, wonderful and fair:
A seamless robe for Truth’s great bridal meet,
And needing but one thread to be complete.
Then Asmiel touched his hand, and broke the thread
Of fine-spun thought, and very gently said,
“The One of whom thou thinkest bids thee go
“Alone to Spiran’s huts, across the snow,
“To serve Him there.” With sorrow and surprise
Malvin looked up, reluctance in his eyes.
The broken thought, the strangeness of the call,
The perilous passage of the mountain-wall,
The solitary journey, and the length
Of ways unknown, too great for his frail strength,
Appalled him. With a doubtful brow
He scanned the doubtful task, and muttered “HOW?”
But Asmiel answered, as he turned to go,
With cold, disheartened voice, “I do not know.”

Now as he went, with fading hope, to seek
The third and last to whom God bade him speak,
Scarce twenty steps away whom should he meet
But Fermor, hurrying cheerful down the street,
With ready heart that faced his work like play,
And joyed to find it greater every day!
The angel stopped him with uplifted hand,
And gave without delay his Lord’s command:
“He whom thou servest here would have thee go
“Alone to Spiran’s huts, across the snow,
“To serve Him there.” Ere Asmiel breathed again
The eager answer leaped to meet him, “WHEN?”

The angel’s face with inward joy grew bright,
And all his figure glowed with heavenly light;
He took the golden circlet from his brow
And gave the crown to Fermor, answering, “Now!
“For thou hast met the Master’s bidden test,
“And I have found the man who loves Him best.
“Not thine, nor mine, to question or reply
“When He commands us, asking ‘how?’ or ‘why?’
“He knows the cause; His ways are wise and just;
“Who serves the King must serve with perfect trust.”

Henry Van Dyke

Autumn in the Garden

yellow tulip from Istanbul Tulip Festival

yellow tulip from Istanbul Tulip Festival

Autumn in the Garden

When the frosty kiss of Autumn in the dark
Makes its mark
On the flowers, and the misty morning grieves
Over fallen leaves;
Then my olden garden, where the golden soil
Through the toil
Of a hundred years is mellow, rich, and deep,
Whispers in its sleep.

‘Mid the crumpled beds of marigold and phlox,
Where the box
Borders with its glossy green the ancient walks,
There’s a voice that talks
Of the human hopes that bloomed and withered here
Year by year,–
Dreams of joy, that brightened all the labouring hours,
Fading as the flowers.

Yet the whispered story does not deepen grief;
But relief
For the loneliness of sorrow seems to flow
From the Long-Ago,
When I think of other lives that learned, like mine,
To resign,
And remember that the sadness of the fall
Comes alike to all.

What regrets, what longings for the lost were theirs!
And what prayers
For the silent strength that nerves us to endure
Things we cannot cure!
Pacing up and down the garden where they paced,
I have traced
All their well-worn paths of patience, till I find
Comfort in my mind.

Faint and far away their ancient griefs appear:
Yet how near
Is the tender voice, the careworn, kindly face,
Of the human race!
Let us walk together in the garden, dearest heart,
Not apart!
They who know the sorrows other lives have known
Never walk alone.

Henry Van Dyke

When down the stair at morning , Tulips and My April Lady

yellow-red tulip from Istanbul Tulip Festival, Pentax K10D

yellow-red tulip from Istanbul Tulip Festival, Pentax K10D

My April Lady

When down the stair at morning
The sunbeams round her float,
Sweet rivulets of laughter
Are bubbling in her throat;
The gladness of her greeting
Is gold without alloy;
And in the morning sunlight
I think her name is Joy.

When in the evening twilight
The quiet book-room lies,
We read the sad old ballads,
While from her hidden eyes
The tears are falling, falling,
That give her heart relief;
And in the evening twilight,
I think her name is Grief.

My little April lady,
Of sunshine and of showers,
She weaves the old spring magic,
And breaks my heart in flowers!
But when her moods are ended,
She nestles like a dove;
Then, by the pain and rapture,
I know her name is Love.

Henry Van Dyke

Time is…

white-red tulips, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

white-red tulips, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

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 Eternity.

Henry van Dyke

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

Black are their hearts as the night

pink tulips, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

pink tulips, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

Homeward Bound

Home, for my heart still calls me;
Home, through the danger zone;
Home, whatever befalls me,
I will sail again to my own!

Wolves of the sea are hiding
Closely along the way,
Under the water biding
Their moment to rend and slay.

Black is the eagle that brands them,
Black are their hearts as the night,
Black is the hate that sends them
To murder but not to fight.

Flower of the German Culture,
Boast of the Kaiser’s Marine,
Choose for your emblem the vulture,
Cowardly, cruel, obscene!

Forth from her sheltered haven
Our peaceful ship glides slow,
Noiseless in flight as a raven,
Gray as a hoodie crow.

She doubles and turns in her bearing,
Like a twisting plover she goes;
The way of her westward faring
Only the captain knows.

In a lonely bay concealing
She lingers for days, and slips
At dusk from her covert, stealing
Thro’ channels feared by the ships.

Brave are the men, and steady,
Who guide her over the deep,–
British mariners, ready
To face the sea-wolf’s leap.

Lord of the winds and waters,
Bring our ship to her mark,
Safe from this game of hide-and-seek
With murderers in the dark!

Henry Van Dyke

yellow tulips, Two dwellings, Peace, are thine.

  Yellow tulips from Istanbul Tulip Festival (Istanbul, Pentax K10D)

Yellow tulips from Istanbul Tulip Festival (Istanbul, Pentax K10D)

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

Peace

I

IN EXCELSIS

Two dwellings, Peace, are thine.
One is the mountain-height,
Uplifted in the loneliness of light
Beyond the realm of shadows,–fine,
And far, and clear,–where advent of the night
Means only glorious nearness of the stars,
And dawn, unhindered, breaks above the bars
That long the lower world in twilight keep.
Thou sleepest not, and hast no need of sleep,
For all thy cares and fears have dropped away;
The night’s fatigue, the fever-fret of day,
Are far below thee; and earth’s weary wars,
In vain expense of passion, pass
Before thy sight like visions in a glass,
Or like the wrinkles of the storm that creep
Across the sea and leave no trace
Of trouble on that immemorial face,–
So brief appear the conflicts, and so slight
The wounds men give, the things for which they fight.

Here hangs a fortress on the distant steep,–
A lichen clinging to the rock:
There sails a fleet upon the deep,–
A wandering flock
Of snow-winged gulls: and yonder, in the plain,
A marble palace shines,–a grain
Of mica glittering in the rain.
Beneath thy feet the clouds are rolled
By voiceless winds: and far between
The rolling clouds new shores and peaks are seen,
In shimmering robes of green and gold,
And faint aerial hue
That silent fades into the silent blue.
Thou, from thy mountain-hold,
All day, in tranquil wisdom, looking down
On distant scenes of human toil and strife,
All night, with eyes aware of loftier life,
Uplooking to the sky, where stars are sown,
Dost watch the everlasting fields grow white
Unto the harvest of the sons of light,
And welcome to thy dwelling-place sublime
The few strong souls that dare to climb
The slippery crags and find thee on the height.

II

DE PROFUNDIS

But in the depth thou hast another home,
For hearts less daring, or more frail.
Thou dwellest also in the shadowy vale;
And pilgrim-souls that roam
With weary feet o’er hill and dale,
Bearing the burden and the heat
Of toilful days,
Turn from the dusty ways
To find thee in thy green and still retreat.
Here is no vision wide outspread
Before the lonely and exalted seat
Of all-embracing knowledge. Here, instead,
A little garden, and a sheltered nook,
With outlooks brief and sweet
Across the meadows, and along the brook,–
A little stream that little knows
Of the great sea towards which it gladly flows,–
A little field that bears a little wheat
To make a portion of earth’s daily bread.
The vast cloud-armies overhead
Are marshalled, and the wild wind blows
Its trumpet, but thou canst not tell
Whence the storm comes nor where it goes.

Nor dost thou greatly care, since all is well;
Thy daily task is done,
And though a lowly one,
Thou gavest it of thy best,
And art content to rest
In patience till its slow reward is won.
Not far thou lookest, but thy sight is clear;
Not much thou knowest, but thy faith is dear;
For life is love, and love is always near.
Here friendship lights the fire, and every heart,
Sure of itself and sure of all the rest,
Dares to be true, and gladly takes its part
In open converse, bringing forth its best:
Here is Sweet music, melting every chain
Of lassitude and pain:
And here, at last, is sleep, the gift of gifts,
The tender nurse, who lifts
The soul grown weary of the waking world,
And lays it, with its thoughts all furled,
Its fears forgotten, and its passions still,
On the deep bosom of the Eternal Will.

Henry Van Dyke

yellow tulips garden in Late Spring

   Yellow tulips from Istanbul Tulip Festival (Istanbul, Pentax K10D)

Yellow tulips from Istanbul Tulip Festival (Istanbul, Pentax K10D)

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

Late Spring

I

Ah, who will tell me, in these leaden days,
Why the sweet Spring delays,
And where she hides, — the dear desire
Of every heart that longs
For bloom, and fragrance, and the ruby fire
Of maple-buds along the misty hills,
And that immortal call which fills
The waiting wood with songs?
The snow-drops came so long ago,
It seemed that Spring was near!
But then returned the snow
With biting winds, and all the earth grew sere,
And sullen clouds drooped low
To veil the sadness of a hope deferred:
Then rain, rain, rain, incessant rain
Beat on the window-pane,
Through which I watched the solitary bird
That braved the tempest, buffeted and tossed,
With rumpled feathers, down the wind again.
Oh, were the seeds all lost
When winter laid the wild flowers in their tomb?
I searched their haunts in vain
For blue hepaticas, and trilliums white,
And trailing arbutus, the Spring’s delight,
Starring the withered leaves with rosy bloom.
The woods were bare: and every night the frost
To all my longings spoke a silent nay,
And told me Spring was far and far away.
Even the robins were too cold to sing,
Except a broken and discouraged note, —
Only the tuneful sparrow, on whose throat
Music has put her triple finger-print,
Lifted his head and sang my heart a hint, —
“Wait, wait, wait! oh, wait a while for Spring!”

II

But now, Carina, what divine amends
For all delay! What sweetness treasured up,
What wine of joy that blends
A hundred flavours in a single cup,
Is poured into this perfect day!
For look, sweet heart, here are the early flowers,
That lingered on their way,
Thronging in haste to kiss the feet of May,
And mingled with the bloom of later hours, —
Anemonies and cinque-foils, violets blue
And white, and iris richly gleaming through
The grasses of the meadow, and a blaze
Of butter-cups and daisies in the field,
Filling the air with praise,
As if a silver chime of bells had pealed!
The frozen songs within the breast
Of silent birds that hid in leafless woods,
Melt into rippling floods
Of gladness unrepressed.
Now oriole and blue-bird, thrush and lark,
Warbler and wren and vireo,
Confuse their music; for the living spark
Of Love has touched the fuel of desire,
And every heart leaps up in singing fire.
It seems as if the land
Were breathing deep beneath the sun’s caress,
Trembling with tenderness,
While all the woods expand,
In shimmering clouds of rose and gold and green,
To veil the joys too sacred to be seen.

III

Come, put your hand in mine,
True love, long sought and found at last,
And lead me deep into the Spring divine
That makes amends for all the wintry past.
For all the flowers and songs I feared to miss
Arrive with you;
And in the lingering pressure of your kiss
My dreams come true;
And in the promise of your generous eyes
I read the mystic sign
Of joy more perfect made
Because so long delayed,
And bliss enhanced by rapture of surprise.
Ah, think not early love alone is strong;
He loveth best whose heart has learned to wait:
Dear messenger of Spring that tarried long,
You’re doubly dear because you come so late.

Henry Van Dyke

yellow-red tulips, I followed the angler’s winding path or waded the stream at will

Yellow-red tulips from Istanbul Tulip Festival (Istanbul, Pentax K10D)

Yellow-red tulips from Istanbul Tulip Festival (Istanbul, Pentax K10D)

The Red Flower

In the pleasant time of Pentecost,
By the little river Kyll,
I followed the angler’s winding path
Or waded the stream at will,
And the friendly fertile German land
Lay round me green and still.

But all day long on the eastern bank
Of the river cool and clear,
Where the curving track of the double rails
Was hardly seen though near,
The endless trains of German troops
Went rolling down to Trier.

They packed the windows with bullet heads
And caps of hodden gray;
They laughed and sang and shouted loud
When the trains were brought to a stay;
They waved their hands and sang again
As they went on their iron way.

No shadow fell on the smiling land,
No cloud arose in the sky;
I could hear the river’s quiet tune
When the trains had rattled by;
But my heart sank low with a heavy sense
Of trouble,–I knew not why.

Then came I into a certain field
Where the devil’s paint-brush spread
‘Mid the gray and green of the rolling hills
A flaring splotch of red,–
An evil omen, a bloody sign,
And a token of many dead.

I saw in a vision the field-gray horde
Break forth at the devil’s hour,
And trample the earth into crimson mud
In the rage of the Will to Power,–
All this I dreamed in the valley of Kyll,
At the sign of the blood-red flower.

Henry Van Dyke

Peace without Justice is a low estate

orange tulip, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

orange tulip, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

The Price of Peace

Peace without Justice is a low estate,–
A coward cringing to an iron Fate!
But Peace through Justice is the great ideal,–
We’ll pay the price of war to make it real.

Henry Van Dyke