Henry Vaughan poems

Henry Vaughan(1621 - 23 April 1695 / Brecknockshire, Wales)
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Friends Departed

- by Henry Vaughan 102

They are all gone into the world of light!
And I alone sit ling'ring here;
Their very memory is fair and bright,
And my sad thoughts doth clear.

It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,
Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest
After the sun's remove.

I see them walking in an air of glory,
Whose light doth trample on my days:
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
Mere glimmering and decays.

O holy Hope! and high Humility,
High as the heavens above!
These are your walks, and you have show'd them me,
To kindle my cold love.

Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of the Just,
Shining nowhere, but in the dark;
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,
Could man outlook that mark!

He that hath found some fledg'd bird's nest may know,
At first sight, if the bird be flown;
But what fair well or grove he sings in now,
That is to him unknown.

And yet as Angels in some brighter dreams
Call to the soul, when man doth sleep:
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,
And into glory peep.

If a star were confin'd into a tomb,
Her captive flames must needs burn there;
But when the hand that lock'd her up gives room,
She'll shine through all the sphere.

O Father of eternal life, and all
Created glories under Thee!
Resume Thy spirit from this world of thrall
Into true liberty.

Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
My perspective still as they pass:
Or else remove me hence unto that hill,
Where I shall need no glass.

Boethius, De Consolatione Philosophiae : Liber 2. Metrum 5

- by Henry Vaughan 76

Happy that first white age when we
Lived by the earth's mere charity!
No soft luxurious diet then
Had effeminated men:
No other meat, nor wine, had any
Than the coarse mast, or simple honey;
And by the parents' care laid up,
Cheap berries did the children sup.
No pompous wear was in those days,
Of gummy silks or scarlet blaize.
Their beds were on some flow'ry brink,
And clear spring-water was their drink.
The shady pine in the sun's heat
Was their cool and known retreat,
For then 'twas not cut down, but stood
The youth and glory of the wood.
The daring sailor with his slaves
Then had not cut the swelling waves,
Nor for desire of foreign store
Seen any but his native shore.
Nor stirring drum scarred that age,
Nor the shrill trumpet's active rage,
No wounds by bitter hatred made,
With warm blood soiled the shining blade;
For how could hostile madness arm
An age of love to public harm,
When common justice none withstood,
Nor sought rewards for spilling blood?
Oh that at length our age would raise
Into the temper of those days!
But - worse than Etna's fires! - debate
And avarice inflame our state.
Alas! who was it that first found
Gold, hid of purpose under ground,
That sought out pearls, and dived to find
Such precious perils for mankind!

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