He was born in Hereford, son of a shoemaker, and educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1652, achieving an MA in arts and divinity nine years later. After receiving his degree in 1656 he took holy orders and worked for ten years as a parish priest in Credenhill, near Hereford. In 1667 he became minister at Teddington and private chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal to Charles II. He died at Bridgeman's house at Teddington on or about 27 September 1674 and is buried in St Mary's Church under the reading desk.
Traherne was an inconsequential literary figure during his life, whose works were ... more »
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Thomas Traherne Poems
But that which most I wonder at, which most I did esteem my bliss, which most I boast, And ever shall enjoy, is that within I felt no stain, nor spot of sin.
As in the house I sate, Alone and desolate, No creature but the fire and I, The chimney and the stool, I lift mine eye
Shadows in the Water
In unexperienced infancy Many a sweet mistake doth lie: Mistake though false, intending true; A seeming somewhat more than view;
In Making Bodies Love Could Not Express
In making bodies Love could not express Itself, or art, unless it made them less. O what a monster had in man been seen, Had every thumb or toe a mountain been!
1 Sin! O only fatal woe,
A learned and a happy ignorance Divided me From all the vanity, From all the sloth, care, pain, and sorrow that advance
That Childish Thoughts Such Joys Inspire
1 That childish thoughts such joys inspire, Doth make my wonder, and His glory higher,
A Serious and Pathetical Contemplation o...
For all the mysteries, engines, instruments, wherewith the world is filled, which we are able to frame and use to thy glory. For all the trades, variety of operations, cities, temples, streets, bridges, mariner's compass, admirable picture, sculpture, writing, printing, songs and music; wherewith the world is beautified and adorned.
An Hymn upon St. Bartholomew's Day
What powerful Spirit lives within! What active Angel doth inhabit here! What heavenly light inspires my skin, Which doth so like a Deity appear!
One star Is better far Than many precious stones; One sun, which is by its own luster seen,
In Salem Dwelt a Glorious King
1 In Salem dwelt a glorious King, Raised from a shepherd's lowly state;
A Life of Sabbaths Here Beneath
1 A life of Sabbaths here beneath! Continual jubilees and joys!
His Power Bounded, Greater Is His Might
His Power bounded, greater is in might, Than if let loose, 'twere wholly infinite. He could have made an endless sea by this, But then it had not been a sea of bliss.
News from a foreign country came, As if my treasures and my joys lay there; So much it did my heart inflame, 'Twas wont to call my soul into mine ear;
Quotationsmore quotations »
''It is of the nobility of man's soul that he is insatiable: for he hath a benefactor so prone to give, that he delighteth in us for asking. Do not your inclinations tell you that the WORLD is yours?''Thomas Traherne (1636-1674), British clergyman, poet, mystic. Centuries, "First Century," no. 22 (written c. 1672, first published 1908).
''The corn was orient and immortal wheat, which never should be reaped, nor was ever sown. I thought it had stood from everlasting to everlasting.''Thomas Traherne (1636-1674), British clergyman, poet, mystic. Centuries, "Third Century, no. 3 (written c. 1672, first published 1908). Referring ...
''A little grit in the eye destroyeth the sight of the very heavens, and a little malice or envy a world of joys. One wry principle in the mind is of infinite consequence.''Thomas Traherne (1636-1674), British clergyman, poet, mystic. Centuries, "Fourth Century," no. 17 (written c. 1672, first published 1908).
''This moment exhibits infinite space, but there is a space also wherein all moments are infinitely exhibited, and the everlasting duration of infinite space is another region and room of joys.''Thomas Traherne (1636-1674), British clergyman, poet, mystic. "Fifth Century," no. 6, Centuries (written c. 1672, published 1908).
''An empty book is like an infant's soul, in which anything may be written. It is capable of all things, but containeth nothing. I have a mind to fill this with profitable wonders.''Thomas Traherne (1636-1674), British clergyman, poet, mystic. "First Century," no. 1, Centuries (written c. 1672, first published 1908).
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But that which most I wonder at, which most
I did esteem my bliss, which most I boast,
And ever shall enjoy, is that within
I felt no stain, nor spot of sin.
No darkness then did overshade,
But all within was pure and bright,
No guilt did crush, nor fear invade
But all my soul was full of light.
A joyful sense and purity
Is all I can remember;
The very night to me was bright,
'Twas summer in December.
A serious meditation did employ
My soul within, which taken up with joy
Did seem no outward thing to note, but fly
All objects that do ...