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Poem by Henry Van Dyke


O Music hast thou only heard
The laughing river, the singing bird,
The murmuring wind in the poplar-trees,--
Nothing but Natures melodies?
Nay, thou hearest all her tones, 
As a Queen must hear! 
Sounds of wrath and fear, 
Mutterings, shouts, and moans, 
Madness, tumult, and despair,
All she has that shakes the air 
With voices fierce and wild!
Thou art a Queen and not a dreaming child,--
Put on thy crown and let us hear thee reign 
Triumphant in a world of storm and strain! 

Echo the long-drawn sighs
Of the mounting wind in the pines;
And the sobs of the mounting waves that rise
In the dark of the troubled deep
To break on the beach in fiery lines.
Echo the far-off roll of thunder,
Rumbling loud
And ever louder, under
The blue-black curtain of cloud, 
Where the lightning serpents gleam.
Echo the moaning
Of the forest in its sleep 
Like a giant groaning
In the torment of a dream. 

Now an interval of quiet
For a moment holds the air
In the breathless hush
Of a silent prayer. 

Then the sudden rush
Of the rain, and the riot
Of the shrieking, tearing gale 
Breaks loose in the night, 
With a fusillade of hail! 
Hear the forest fight,
With its tossing arms that crack and clash 
In the thunders cannonade,
While the lightnings forked flash 
Brings the old hero-trees to the ground with a crash!
Hear the breakers deepening roar, 
Driven like a herd of cattle
In the wild stampede of battle, 
Trampling, trampling, trampling, to overwhelm the shore! 

Is it the end of all?
Will the land crumble and fall? 
Nay, for a voice replies 
Out of the hidden skies, 
Thus far, O sea, shalt thou go, 
So long, O wind, shalt thou blow: 
Return to your bounds and cease, 
And let the earth have peace! 

O Music, lead the way--
The stormy night is past,
Lift up our hearts to greet the day,
And the joy of things that last. 

The dissonance and pain
That mortals must endure,
Are changed in thine immortal strain
To something great and pure. 

True love will conquer strife,
And strength from conflict flows, 
For discord is the thorn of life
And harmony the rose.

Henry Van Dyke

Henry Van Dyke's other poems:
  1. The Ancestral Dwelling
  2. A Legend of Service
  3. Francis Makemie
  4. Patria
  5. A Lovers Envy

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