Guide to Daily Reading 11/10/22

Introduction to The Pocket University Guide to Daily Reading, and this series of posts.

Henry van Dyke born on this date in 1852 (d. 4/1933).

van Dyke was an America poet, essayist, and short story writer. He was also a Presbyterian pastor renown for his sermons at Brick Presbyterian Church in New York. Two of his most famous sermons were “The Story of the Other Wise Man,” and “The First Christmas Tree.” From the church, he moved to Princeton as Professor of English Literature. He wrote quite a number of books, including several on fishing. “He had a pleasant sense of humor, a somewhat conventional essay style and a fondness for mixing with all classes of society, especially in the Canadian wilds” (Kunitz & Haycraft, 1942).

Two of today’s readings are van Dyke works. PG has The Poems of Henry van Dyke (PG #16229)

Salute to the Trees

Many a tree is found in the wood
And every tree for its use is good:
Some for the strength of the gnarled root,
Some for the sweetness of flower or fruit;
Some for shelter against the storm,
And some to keep the hearth-stone warm;
Some for the roof, and some for the beam,
And some for a boat to breast the stream;—
In the wealth of the wood since the world began
The trees have offered their gifts to man.
But the glory of trees is more than their gifts:
'Tis a beautiful wonder of life that lifts,
From a wrinkled seed in an earth-bound clod,
A column, an arch in the temple of God,
A pillar of power, a dome of delight,
A shrine of song, and a joy of sight!
Their roots are the nurses of rivers in birth;
Their leaves are alive with the breath of the earth;
They shelter the dwellings of man; and they bend
O'er his grave with the look of a loving friend.
I have camped in the whispering forest of pines,
I have slept in the shadow of olives and vines;
In the knees of an oak, at the foot of a palm
I have found good rest and slumber's balm.
And now, when the morning gilds the boughs
Of the vaulted elm at the door of my house,
I open the window and make salute:
"God bless thy branches and feed thy root!
Thou hast lived before, live after me,
Thou ancient, friendly, faithful tree."

Vachel Lindsay was also born on this date in 1879 (d. 1931).

Lindsay was an American poet and founder of “singing poetry.” He seems to be a fairly complex fellow for his time.

Part of the success and great fame that Lindsay achieved—albeit briefly—was due to the singular manner in which he presented his poetry “fundamentally as a performance, as an aural and temporal experience…meant…to be chanted, whispered, belted out, sung, amplified by gesticulation and movement, and punctuated by shouts and whoops.”


Lindsay’s contribution to today’s readings is

Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft. Twentieth Century Authors: A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Literature. The H.W. Wilson Company, New York. 1956. (1st 1942)

2 thoughts on “Guide to Daily Reading 11/10/22”

  1. Henry van Dyke also wrote ‘Companionable Books’. In the preface his writes “Many books are dry and dusty, there is no juice in them; and many are soon exhausted, you would no more go back to them than to a squeezed orange; but some have in them an unfailing sap, both from the tree of knowledge and from the tree of life”. The table of contents include some of his favorite, I. The Books of Books, II Poetry in the Psalms, III The Good Enchantment of Dickens; IV Thackeray and Real Men; V George Eliot and Real Women; VI The Poet of Immortal Youth (Keats); VII The Recovery of Joy (Wordsworth); VIII The Glory of the Imperfect (Browning); IX A Quaint Compare by Quiet Streams (Walton) X A Sturdy Believer (Samuel Johnson); XI A Puritan Plus Poetry (Emerson) XII An Adventurer in a Velvet Jacket (Stevenson).

    A book worth reading.

    1. Thanks. It’s at PG. Certainly looks like a book “worth taking with you on a journey” itself.

      Hadn’t noticed that before. When you copy it automatically places it in quotes and adds citation info.

      Excerpt From
      Companionable Books
      Henry Van Dyke
      This material may be protected by copyright.

Comments are closed.