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About this poet

Henry van Dyke was born on November 10, 1852. He graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1873 and from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1877. He served as a pastor in Rhode Island and New York City for many years before becoming a professor of English at Princeton University in 1900. Van Dyke was the author of The Red Flower: Poems Written in War Time (Copp Clark Co., 1917) as well as numerous books of sermons, essays, and fiction. He died in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 10, 1933.

Lights Out

“Lights out" along the land,
“Lights out” upon the sea.
The night must put her hiding hand
O’er peaceful towns where children sleep,
And peaceful ships that darkly creep
Across the waves, as if they were not free.

The dragons of the air,
The hell-hounds of the deep,
Lurking and prowling everywhere,
Go forth to seek their helpless prey,
Not knowing whom they maim or slay—
Mad harvesters, who care not what they reap.

Out with the tranquil lights,
Out with the lights that burn
For love and law and human rights!
Set back the clock a thousand years:
All they have gained now disappears,
And the dark ages suddenly return.

Kaiser who loosed wild death,
And terror in the night—
God grant you draw no quiet breath,
Until the madness you began 
Is ended, and long-suffering man,
Set free from was lords, cries, “Let there be Light.”


This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Henry van Dyke

Henry van Dyke

Henry van Dyke was born on November 10, 1852. The author of The Red Flower: Poems Written in War Time (Copp Clark Co., 1917) as well as numerous books of sermons, essays, and fiction, he died in 1933.

by this poet

poem
Peace without Justice is a low estate,—
A coward cringing to an iron Fate!
But Peace through Justice is the great ideal,—
We’ll pay the price of war to make it real.

poem

You dare to say with perjured lips, 
    "We fight to make the ocean free"? 
You, whose black trail of butchered ships 
    Bestrews the bed of every sea 
    Where German submarines have wrought 
    Their horrors! Have you never thought,—
What you call freedom, men call

poem
                June, 1914

In the pleasant time of Pentecost,
    By the little river Kyll,
I followed the angler’s winding path
    Or waded the stream at will,
And the friendly fertile German land
    Lay round me green and still.

But all day long on the eastern bank
    Of the river cool and clear,