25 Henry VanDyke Poems

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Henry VanDyke has influenced and inspired many over the years with his poems. Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 10, 1852 his work as an author, clergyman, and professor of English literature has made a positive difference in the lives of his students and people of all walks of life. He also contributed to the first Presbyterian printed liturgy, The Book of Common Worship of 1906, which has impacted thousands of people.

He died on April 10, 1933, but his work continues to live on and inspire people today. We hope the poems shown here to inspire you and add a positive thought to your day.

Henry vanDyke
Henry VanDyke



Favorite Poems by Henry VanDyke


Popular Henry VanDyke Poems:

  1. Christmas Tears
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    The day returns by which we date our years:
    Day of the joy of giving,--that means love;
    Day of the joy of living,--that means hope;
    Day of the Royal Child,--and day that brings
    To older hearts the gift of Christmas tears!

    Look, how the candles twinkle through the tree,
    The children shout when baby claps his hands,
    The room is full of laughter and of song!
    Your lips are smiling, dearest,--tell me why
    Your eyes are brimming full of Christmas tears?

    Was it a silent voice that joined the song?
    A vanished face that glimmered once again
    Among the happy circle round the tree?
    Was it an unseen hand that touched your cheek
    And brought the secret gift of Christmas tears?

    Not dark and angry like the winter storm
    Of selfish grief,--but full of starry gleams,
    And soft and still that others may not weep,--
    Dews of remembered happiness descend
    To bless us with the gift of Christmas tears.

    Ah, lose them not, dear heart,--life has no pearls
    More pure than memories of joy love-shared.
    See, while we count them one by one with prayer,
    The Heavenly hope that lights the Christmas tree
    Has made a rainbow in our Christmas tears!

    Christmas Poems
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  2. When Tulips Bloom
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    When tulips bloom in Union Square,
    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 weary 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.

    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?

    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 much I'm wishing to go a-fishing
    In days so sweet with music's balm!

    '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.

    Garden poems
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  3. God's Sight
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    Flowers rejoice when night is done,
    Lift their heads to greet the sun;
    Sweetest looks and odours raise,
    In a silent hymn of praise.

    So my heart would turn away
    From the darkness to the day;
    Lying open in God's sight
    Like a flower in the light.

    Christian Poems
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  4. Love Is
    Henry vanDyke


    Love is not getting, but giving;
    Not a wild dream of pleasure,
    And a madness of desire -
    Oh, no, love is not that, -
    It is goodness and honor,
    And peace and pure living -
    Yes, love is that; and
    It is the best thing in the world,
    And the thing that lives longest.



  5. The Wind Of Sorrow
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    The fire of love was burning, yet so low
    That in the dark we scarce could see its rays,
    And in the light of perfect-placid days
    Nothing but smouldering embers dull and slow.
    Vainly, for love's delight, we sought to throw
    New pleasures on the pyre to make it blaze:
    In life's calm air and tranquil-prosperous ways
    We missed the radiant heat of long ago.

    Then in the night, a night of sad alarms,
    Bitter with pain and black with fog of fears,
    That drove us trembling to each other's arms -
    Across the gulf of darkness and salt tears,
    Into life's calm the wind of sorrow came,
    And fanned the fire of love to clearest flame.


    short love poems
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  6. The After-Echo
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    How long the echoes love to play
    Around the shore of silence, as a wave
    Retreating circles down the sand!
    One after one, with sweet delay,
    The mellow sounds that cliff and island gave,
    Have lingered in the crescent bay,
    Until, by lightest breezes fanned,
    They float far off beyond the dying day
    And leave it still as death.
    But hark,--
    Another singing breath
    Comes from the edge of dark;
    A note as clear and slow
    As falls from some enchanted bell,
    Or spirit, passing from the world below,
    That whispers back, Farewell.

    So in the heart,
    When, fading slowly down the past,
    Fond memories depart,
    And each that leaves it seems the last;
    Long after all the rest are flown,
    Returns a solitary tone,--
    The after-echo of departed years,--
    And touches all the soul to tears.

    nature poems
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  7. The Parting And The Coming Guest
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    Who watched the worn-out Winter die?
    Who, peering through the window-pane
    At nightfall, under sleet and rain
    Saw the old graybeard totter by?
    Who listened to his parting sigh,
    The sobbing of his feeble breath,
    His whispered colloquy with Death,
    And when his all of life was done
    Stood near to bid a last good-bye?
    Of all his former friends not one
    Saw the forsaken Winter die.

    Who welcomed in the maiden Spring?
    Who heard her footfall, swift and light
    As fairy-dancing in the night?
    Who guessed what happy dawn would bring
    The flutter of her bluebird's wing,
    The blossom of her mayflower-face
    To brighten every shady place?
    One morning, down the village street,
    "Oh, here am I," we heard her sing,--
    And none had been awake to greet
    The coming of the maiden Spring.

    But look, her violet eyes are wet
    With bright, unfallen, dewy tears;
    And in her song my fancy hears
    A note of sorrow trembling yet.
    Perhaps, beyond the town, she met
    Old Winter as he limped away
    To die forlorn, and let him lay
    His weary head upon her knee,
    And kissed his forehead with regret
    For one so gray and lonely,--see,
    Her eyes with tender tears are wet.

    And so, by night, while we were all at rest,
    I think the coming sped the parting guest.

    poems about the seasons
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  8. The Lily Of Yorrow
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    Deep in the heart of the forest the lily of Yorrow is growing;
    Blue is its cup as the sky, and with mystical odour o'erflowing;
    Faintly it falls through the shadowy glades when the south wind is blowing.

    Sweet are the primroses pale and the violets after a shower;
    Sweet are the borders of pinks and the blossoming grapes on the bower;
    Sweeter by far is the breath of that far-away woodland flower.

    Searching and strange in its sweetness, it steals like a perfume enchanted
    Under the arch of the forest, and all who perceive it are haunted,
    Seeking and seeking for ever, till sight of the lily is granted.

    Who can describe how it grows, with its chalice of lazuli leaning
    Over a crystalline spring, where the ferns and the mosses are greening?
    Who can imagine its beauty, or utter the depth of its meaning?

    Calm of the journeying stars, and repose of the mountains olden,
    Joy of the swift-running rivers, and glory of sunsets golden,
    Secrets that cannot be told in the heart of the flower are holden.

    Surely to see it is peace and the crown of a life-long endeavour;
    Surely to pluck it is gladness,--but they who have found it can never
    Tell of the gladness and peace: they are hid from our vision for ever.

    'Twas but a moment ago that a comrade was walking near me:
    Turning aside from the pathway he murmured a greeting to cheer me, -
    Then he was lost in the shade, and I called but he did not hear me.

    Why should I dream he is dead, and bewail him with passionate sorrow?
    Surely I know there is gladness in finding the lily of Yorrow:
    He has discovered it first, and perhaps I shall find it to-morrow.

    flower poem
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  9. School
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    I put my heart to school
    In the world where men grow wise:
    "Go out," I said, "and learn the rule;
    Come back when you win a prize."

    My heart came back again:
    "Now where is the prize?" I cried.--
    "The rule was false, and the prize was pain,
    And the teacher's name was Pride."

    I put my heart to school
    In the woods where veeries sing
    And brooks run clear and cool,
    In the fields where wild flowers spring.

    "And why do you stay so long
    My heart, and where do you roam?"
    The answer came with a laugh and a song,--
    "I find this school is home."

    poems about school
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  10. Heroes Of The "Titanic"
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    Honour the brave who sleep
    Where the lost "Titanic" lies,
    The men who knew what a man must do
    When he looks Death in the eyes.

    "Women and children first,"--
    Ah, strong and tender cry!
    The sons whom women had borne and nursed,
    Remembered,--and dared to die.

    The boats crept off in the dark:
    The great ship groaned: and then,--
    O stars of the night, who saw that sight,
    Bear witness, These were men!

    inspirational poems
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  11. A Lover's Envy
    Poet: Henry VanDyke


    I envy every flower that blows
    Along the meadow where she goes,
    And every bird that sings to her,
    And every breeze that brings to her
    The fragrance of the rose.

    I envy every poet's rhyme
    That moves her heart at even'time,
    And every tree that wears for her
    Its brightest bloom, and bears for her
    The fruitage of its prime.

    I envy every Southern night
    That paves her path with moonbeams white,
    And silvers all the leaves for her,
    And in their shadow weaves for her
    A dream of dear delight.

    I envy none whose love requires
    Of her a gift, a task that tires:
    I only long to live to her,
    I only ask to give to her,
    All that her heart desires.

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