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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.

The Red Flower

                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,
Where the curving track of the double rails
    Was hardly seen though near,
The endless trains of German troops
    Went rolling down to Trier.

They packed the windows with bullet heads
    And caps of hodden gray;
They laughed and sang and shouted loud
    When the trains were brought to a stay;
They waved their hands and sang again
    As they went on their iron way.

No shadows fell on the smiling land,
    No cloud arose in the sky;
I could hear the river’s quiet tune
    When the trains had rattled by;
But my heart sank low with a heavy sense
    Of trouble,—I knew not why.

Then came I into a certain field
    Where the devil’s paint-brush spread
’Mid the gray and green of the rolling hills
    A flaring splotch of red,—
An evil omen, a bloody sign,
    And a token of many dead.

I saw in a vision the field-gray horde
    Break forth at the devil’s hour,
And trample the earth into crimson mud
    In the rage of the Will to Power,—
All this I dreamed in the valley of Kyll,
    At the sign of the blood-red flower.

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.

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Together England, Scotland, Ireland stand
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