Henry Vaughan

(1621 - 23 April 1695 / Brecknockshire, Wales)

Vanity Of Spirit - Poem by Henry Vaughan

Quite spent with thoughts, I left my cell and lay
Where a shrill spring tuned to the early day.
I begged here long, and groaned to know
Who gave the clouds so brave a bow,
Who bent the spheres, and circled in
Corruption with this glorious ring;
What is His name, and how I might
Descry some part of His great light.
I summoned nature: pierced through all her store,
Broke up some seals which none had touched before:
Her womb, her bosom, and her head
Where all her secrets lay abed,
I rifled quite; and having passed
Through all her creatures, came at last
To search myself, where I did find
Traces and sounds of a strange kind.
Here of this mighty spring I found some drills,
With echoes beaten from the eternal hills;
Weak beams and fires flashed to my sight,
Like a young east, or moonshine night,
Which showed me in a nook cast by
A piece of much antiquity,
With hieroglyphics quite dismembered,
And broken letters scarce remembered.
I took them up and, much joyed, went about
To unite those pieces, hoping to find out
The mystery; but this ne'er done,
That little light I had was gone:
It grieved me much. At last, said I,
Since in these veils my eclipsed eye
May not approach Thee (for at night
Who can have commerce with the light?),
I'll disapparel, and to buy
But one half glance, mist gladly die.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010



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