Dutch Reformed

Springtime by Geerhardus Vos

OldVosHasten, O love, do come; the Spring is not completed,
Unless thou be a part of its glad feast and song;
The buds, awaking, wonder, why they are not greeted
By thee, to whom their dreams went out all winter long.

The sky, the sun, the clouds, the earth, the trees, the flowers,
They all do something lack, thou canst alone impart;
Help us fulfill the office of these holiest hours,
Come, put our heart once more in tune with nature’s heart.

Why should the year’s young bloom, that fades so soon, be wasted?
Why all this music die, forgotten, on the air?
’Twere pity to let pass the cup of cups untasted;
Wine is not lover’s wine but what two lovers share.

by Geerhardus Vos


California by Geerhardus Vos

Fair land, so fair it gives the mind distress
To think that people of our common clay,
Dwelling in thee, may mar or render lessOldVos
Thy serene charm by what men do or say.
I, like a lover, my unworthiness confess;
Here should but pure Elysian spirits play.
Wonder, beholding thee, can scarce suppress
A haunting sense at times, as though there lay
Beneath this raiment still more exquisite a dress,
Covered to hide from mortal gaze away
The too entrancing vision of its loveliness.

by Geerhardus Vos

The Solitary Tree by Geerhardus Vos

O tree behind the hogan,
Lonely, unmated tree!
The priest comes to visit the Indian,OldVos
Brings he no gospel for thee?

Thou shadest both thatch and adobe,
Faithful, unselfishly,
Thy crown exposed to the sunglare,
Is there no shadow for thee?

I know of a man who has promised
The creature shall once be free
Of its man-inflicted bondage,
And that is inclusive of thee.

by Geerhardus Vos

He Bore Our Griefs by Jacobus Revius

No, it was not the Jews who crucified,
Nor who betrayed you in the judgment place,
Nor who, Lord Jesus, spat into your face,
Nor who with buffets struck you as you died.
No, it was not the soldiers fisted bold
Who lifted up the hammer and the nail,
Or raised the cursed cross on Calvary’s hill,
Or, gambling, tossed the dice to win your robe.
I am the one, O Lord, who brought you there,
I am the heavy cross you had to bear,
I am the rope that bound you to the tree,
The whip, the nail, the hammer, and the spear,
The blood-stained crown of thorns you had to wear:
It was my sin, alas, it was for me.

by Jacobus Revius (Translated by Henrietta ten Harmsel)

Bird Tragedy by Geerhardus Vos (1933)

OldVosYe birds, no fence can bar you out,
Whether of steel or stone,
From any garden of delight
Ye choose to make your own.

Yours were the freedom of the fields,
Could ye beware the nets,
Which, to beguile your innocence,
The crafty fowler sets.

Yours is the sky up to the clouds;
But from huge birds of prey
Is no defence: they lurk and watch,
Swoop down and clutch and slay.

One moment, and a feathery ball
Floats fluttering on the air;
No one knows, did it reach the earth,
Or, if it did so, where.

Should by incalculable chance
It light upon the spot,
Where hung the sheltering mother-nest,
The place would know it not.

What a pathetic tragedy,
That such things should befall,
In ways so disproportionate,
The big upon the small!

Come, hear the Preacher of the Mount
His wonder-sermon preach:
“No sparrow falleth to the ground
Outside my Father’s reach.”

Ye more than sparrows through his grace,
All your anxiety,
Your heights and depths, your falls and flights
He has in memory.

All creatures are, with Him compared,
Mere nothings; none the less
He can reclaim a ravished bird
From next to nothingness.

by Geerhardus Vos, 1933