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

  • Khairul Ahsan (7/12/2018 10:50:00 PM)

    A poem written about four centuries ago, still so relevant! (Report)Reply

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  • (7/12/2018 7:52:00 AM)

    m͙y͙ m͙o͙t͙h͙e͙r͙s͙ n͙e͙i͙g͙h͙b͙o͙u͙r͙ i͙s͙ w͙o͙r͙k͙i͙n͙g͙ p͙a͙r͙t͙ t͙i͙m͙e͙ a͙n͙d͙ a͙v͙e͙r͙a͙g͙i͙n͙g͙ $9000 a͙ m͙o͙n͙t͙h͙. i͙'m͙ a͙ s͙i͙n͙g͙l͙e͙ m͙u͙m͙ a͙n͙d͙ j͙u͙s͙t͙ g͙o͙t͙ m͙y͙ f͙i͙r͙s͙t͙ p͙a͙y͙c͙h͙e͙c͙k͙ f͙o͙r͙ $6546! i͙ s͙t͙i͙l͙l͙ c͙a͙n͙'t͙ b͙e͙l͙i͙e͙v͙e͙ i͙t͙. i͙ t͙r͙i͙e͙d͙ i͙t͙ o͙u͙t͙ c͙a͙u͙s͙e͙ i͙ g͙o͙t͙ r͙e͙a͙l͙l͙y͙ d͙e͙s͙p͙e͙r͙a͙t͙e͙ a͙n͙d͙ n͙o͙w͙ i͙ c͙o͙u͙l͙d͙n͙'t͙ b͙e͙ h͙a͙p͙p͙i͙e͙r͙. h͙e͙r͙e͙s͙ w͙, .................kingstar5.com (Report)Reply

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  • (7/12/2018 7:51:00 AM)

    m͙y͙ m͙o͙t͙h͙e͙r͙s͙ n͙e͙i͙g͙h͙b͙o͙u͙r͙ i͙s͙ w͙o͙r͙k͙i͙n͙g͙ p͙a͙r͙t͙ t͙i͙m͙e͙ a͙n͙d͙ a͙v͙e͙r͙a͙g͙i͙n͙g͙ $9000 a͙ m͙o͙n͙t͙h͙. i͙'m͙ a͙ s͙i͙n͙g͙l͙e͙ m͙u͙m͙ a͙n͙d͙ j͙u͙s͙t͙ g͙o͙t͙ m͙y͙ f͙i͙r͙s͙t͙ p͙a͙y͙c͙h͙e͙c͙k͙ f͙o͙r͙ $6546! i͙ s͙t͙i͙l͙l͙ c͙a͙n͙'t͙ b͙e͙l͙i͙e͙v͙e͙ i͙t͙. i͙ t͙r͙i͙e͙d͙ i͙t͙ o͙u͙t͙ c͙a͙u͙s͙e͙ i͙ g͙o͙t͙ r͙e͙a͙l͙l͙y͙ d͙e͙s͙p͙e͙r͙a͙t͙e͙ a͙n͙d͙ n͙o͙w͙ i͙ c͙o͙u͙l͙d͙n͙'t͙ b͙e͙ h͙a͙p͙p͙i͙e͙r͙. h͙e͙r͙e͙s͙ w͙...............www.kingstar5.com (Report)Reply

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  • Ruta Mohapatra (7/12/2018 4:48:00 AM)

    'Since all that age doth teach is ill,
    Why should I not love childhood still? '.........Thought provoking lines!
    (Report)Reply

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  • (7/12/2018 4:06:00 AM)

    Dear harmless age Beautiful (Report)Reply

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  • Mahtab Bangalee (7/12/2018 1:47:00 AM)

    wow the excel of writings-

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

    nice and so thoughtful stanza-
    /////

    Yeah - the harmless age is too short
    -in this age live all good, virtue, love, magnanimity, humanity
    - this is philanthropic age

    and we lose it blindly by ourselves...................
    (Report)Reply

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

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

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  • (7/12/2017 11:45:00 PM)

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

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

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

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  • 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

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

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

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

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

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  • 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.

    gk
    (Report)Reply

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  • 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

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010



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