Henry Vaughan

(1621 - 23 April 1695 / Brecknockshire, Wales)

Childhood - Poem by Henry Vaughan

I cannot reach it; and my striving eye
Dazzles at it, as at eternity.
Were now that chronicle alive,
Those white designs which children drive,
And the thoughts of each harmless hour,
With their content, too, in my power,
Quickly would I make my path even,
And by mere playing go to heaven.

Why should men love
A wolf more than a lamb or dove?
Or choose hell-fire and brimstone streams
Before bright stars and God's own beams?
Who kisseth thorns will hurt his face,
But flowers do both refresh and grace,
And sweetly living - fie on men! -
Are, when dead, medicinal then;
If seeing much should make staid eyes,
And long experience should make wise,
Since all that age doth teach is ill,
Why should I not love childhood still?
Why, if I see a rock or shelf,
Shall I from thence cast down myself?
Or by complying with the world,
From the same precipice be hurled?
Those observations are but foul
Which make me wise to lose my soul.

And yet the practice worldlings call
Business, and weighty action all,
Checking the poor child for his play,
But gravely cast themselves away.

Dear, harmless age! the short, swift span
Where weeping Virtue parts with man;
Where love without lust dwells, and bends
What way we please without self-ends.

An age of mysteries! which he
Must live twice that would God's face see;
Which angels guard, and with it play,
Angels! which foul men drive away.

How do I study now, and scan
Thee more than e'er I studied man,
And only see through a long night
Thy edges and thy bordering light!
Oh for thy center and midday!
For sure that is the narrow way!

Comments about Childhood by Henry Vaughan

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (7/13/2017 12:11:00 AM)

    And long experience should make wise, ...thanks for posting👍 (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (7/12/2017 11:45:00 PM)

    An unique portrayal of childhood and how it should be enjoyed. (Report) Reply

  • James Mclain Is It Poetry (7/12/2017 4:54:00 PM)

    The strongest empath daily See's and feels
    what children do each day.. iip
    (Report) Reply

  • Seamus O' Brian (7/12/2017 4:01:00 PM)

    The author presents a lengthy argument for what? The impossible recapitulation of childhood? I suppose the first line is my answer, that he acknowledges the impossibility of such a thought, which renders the rest of the work an ode to that which has been forever lost. Clever rhyming and word constructs, but the whole piece seems too weighty for its own subject, but that perhaps is a dynamic of the author's time. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (7/12/2017 2:14:00 PM)

    Weighty action! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Muzahidul Reza (7/12/2017 1:29:00 PM)

    How do I study now, ...... nicely write (Report) Reply

  • Glen Kappy (7/12/2017 10:07:00 AM)

    i'm glad to be introduced to this poem. and for me it illustrates the agelessness and universality of poetry.

    being who i am, i thought of jesus' words, unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the reign of God. which surely vaughan had in mind as i see in the last two stanzas.

    though i see the virtues of this age and understand why vaughan might want to go back, i part with him here. for there is so much to life in these middle years of mine experienced with a childlike heart- -given to me by God's grace. on going back, any of you who read this, you might find my poem, aging as ascent, interesting.

    (Report) Reply

  • Zoila T. Flores (7/12/2017 9:54:00 AM)

    Please allow me to share my poem with you:
    My Childhood Creek
    Jumping strongly innocently;
    Into shallow to this stream,
    Diving carefully, crushing gently,
    That’s the creek in my dreams!
    Zoila T. Flores
    (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

[Report Error]