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Poems About Holland

Table of Contents

  1. Holland by James Thomson
  2. Holland by James Thomson
  3. Holland Song by Hilda Conkling
  4. A Dutch Picture by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  5. The Ships of Hoorn, extract by Joost van den Vondel
  6. Robinson of Leyden by Oliver Wendell Holmes
  7. The Village of Scheveningen by Charles Swain

  1. Holland

    by James Thomson

    (From Liberty)

    As when, impetuous from the snow-heaped Alps,
    To venial suns relenting pours the Rhine;
    While, undivided, oft, with wasteful sweep,
    He foams along; but through Batavian meads,
    Branched into fair canals, indulgent flows;
    Waters a thousand fields; and culture, trade,
    Towns, meadows, gliding ships, and villas mixed,
    A rich, a wondrous landscape rises round.

  2. Holland

    by James Thomson

    (From Winter)

    Where the Rhine
    Branched out in many a long canal extends,
    From every province swarming, void of care,
    Batavia rushes forth; and as they sweep,
    On sounding skates, a thousand different ways,
    In circling poise, swift as the winds, along,
    The then gay land is maddened all to joy.

  3. Holland Song

    by Hilda Conkling

    When light comes creeping through the hills
    That shine with mist,
    When winds blow soft,
    Windmills wake and whirl.
    In Holland, in Holland,
    Everything is cheerful
    Across the sea:
    White nets are beside the water
    Where ships sail by.
    The mountains begin to get blue,
    The Dutch girls begin to sing,
    The windmills begin to whirl.
    Then night comes
    The mountains turn dark gray
    And faint away into night.
    Not a bird chirps his song.
    All is drowsy,
    All is strange,
    With the moon and stars shining round the world:
    The wind stops,
    The windmills stop
    In Holland . . .

  4. A Dutch Picture

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Simon Danz has come home again,
    From cruising about with his buccaneers;
    He has singed the beard of the King of Spain,
    And carried away the Dean of Jaen
    And sold him in Algiers.

    In his house by the Maese, with its roof of tiles,
    And weather-cocks flying aloft in air,
    There are silver tankards of antique styles,
    Plunder of convent and castle, and piles
    Of carpets rich and rare.

    In his tulip-garden there by the town,
    Overlooking the sluggish stream,
    With his Moorish cap and dressing-gown
    The old sea-captain, hale and brown,
    Walks in a waking dream.

    A smile in his gray mustachio lurks
    Whenever he thinks of the King of Spain,
    And the listed tulips look like Turks,
    And the silent gardener as he works
    Is changed to the Dean of Jaen.

    The windmills on the outermost
    Verge of the landscape in the haze,
    To him are towers on the Spanish coast,
    With whiskered sentinels at their post,
    Though this is the river Maese.

    But when the winter rains begin,
    He sits and smokes by the blazing brands,
    And old sea-faring men come in,
    Goat-bearded, gray, and with double chin,
    And rings upon their hands.

    They sit there in the shadow and shine
    Of the flickering fire of the winter night;
    Figures in color and design
    Like those by Rembrandt of the Rhine,
    Half darkness and half light.

    And they talk of their ventures lost or won,
    And their talk is ever and ever the same,
    While they drink the red wine of Tarragon,
    From the cellars of some Spanish Don,
    Or convent set on flame.

    Restless at times with heavy strides
    He paces his parlor to and fro;
    He is like a ship that at anchor rides,
    And swings with the rising and falling tides,
    And tugs at her anchor-tow.

    Voices mysterious far and near,
    Sound of the wind and sound of the sea,
    Are calling and whispering in his ear,
    “Simon Danz! Why stayest thou here?
    Come forth and follow me!”

    So he thinks he shall take to the sea again
    For one more cruise with his buccaneers,
    To singe the beard of the king of Spain,
    And capture another Dean of Jaen
    And sell him in Algiers.

  5. The Ships of Hoorn, extract

    by Joost van den Vondel, translated by Annie Wood

    To heroes Hoorn has given birth,
    And gallant souls to man her fleets;
    The produce of her faithful earth
    In distant lands a market meets.
    Where’er the moon on far-off lands
    Her silvery light benignly sheds,
    There, countless as the yellow sands,
    The ships of Hoorn her commerce spreads.

  6. Robinson of Leyden

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    He sleeps not here; in hope and prayer
    His wandering flock had gone before,
    But he, the shepherd, might not share
    Their sorrows on the wintry shore.

    Before the Speedwell’s anchor swung,
    Ere yet the Mayflower’s sail was spread,
    While round his feet the Pilgrims clung,
    The pastor spake, and thus he said:—

    “Men, brethren, sisters, children dear!
    God calls you hence from over sea;
    Ye may not build by Haerlem Meer,
    Nor yet along the Zuyder-Zee.

    “Ye go to bear the saving word
    To tribes unnamed and shores untrod:
    Heed well the lessons ye have heard
    From those old teachers taught of God.

    “Yet think not unto them was lent
    All light for all the coming days,
    And Heaven’s eternal wisdom spent
    In making straight the ancient ways:

    “The living fountain overflows
    For every flock, for every lamb,
    Nor heeds, though angry creeds oppose,
    With Luther’s dike or Calvin’s dam.”

    He spake: with lingering, long embrace,
    With tears of love and partings fond,
    They floated down the creeping Maas,
    Along the isle of Ysselmond.

    They passed the frowning towers of Briel,
    The “Hook of Holland’s” shelf of sand,
    And grated soon with lifting keel
    The sullen shores of fatherland.

    No home for these! too well they knew
    The mitred king behind the throne;
    The sails were set, the pennons flew,
    And westward ho! for worlds unknown.

    And these were they who gave us birth,
    The Pilgrims of the sunset wave,
    Who won for us this virgin earth,
    And freedom with the soil they gave.

    The pastor slumbers by the Rhine,—
    In alien earth the exiles lie,—
    Their nameless graves our holiest shrine
    His words our noblest battle-cry!

    Still cry them, and the world shall hear,
    Ye dwellers by the storm-swept sea!
    Ye have not built by Haerlem Meer,
    Nor on the land-locked Zuyder-Zee!

  7. The Village of Scheveningen

    by Charles Swain

    A startling sound by night was heard,
    From the Scheveningen coast;
    Like vultures in their clamorous flight,
    Or the trampling of a host.

    It broke the sleepers’ heavy rest,
    With harsh and threatening cry;
    Storm was upon the lonely sea!
    Storm on the midnight sky!

    The slumberers started up from sleep,
    Like spectres from their graves;
    Then—burst a hundred voices forth:
    “The waves!—the waves!—the waves!”

    The strong-built dikes lay overthrown:
    And on their deadly way,
    Like lions, came the mighty seas,
    Impatient for their prey!

    Like lions came the mighty seas,—
    O, vision of despair!—
    Mid ruins of their falling homes,
    The blackness of the air.

    Jesu! it was a fearful hour!
    The elemental strife,
    Howling above the shrieks of death,—
    The struggling groans for life!

    Fathers beheld the hastening doom
    With stern, delirious eye;
    Wildly they looked around for help,—
    No help, alas! was nigh.

    Mothers stood trembling with their babes,
    Uttering complaints, in vain;
    No arm but the Almighty arm
    Might stem that dreadful main!

    No mercy, no relapse, no hope,—
    That night the tempest-tost
    Saw their paternal homes engulfed,—
    Lost! O, forever lost!

    Again the blessed morning light
    In the far heavens shone;
    But where the pleasant village stood,
    Swept the dark floods alone!

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