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
- The Standard-Bearer
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.”Wiki
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)