St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, November 03, 2006

Poetry Friday

Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933)
"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 crumbly castles and the statues of the 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 fountains filled;
But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her way!

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 bl├ęssed Land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars


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A Presbyterian Minister, Henry Van Dyke is perhaps best known for The Story of the Other Wise Man and for the Hymn of Joy ("Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, ..."). He was also a prolific poet, and the above poem can be found in:
Van Dyke, Henry. The Poems of Henry Van Dyke. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911.
"America for Me" was written in June, 1909.

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