Wednesday, August 13

Henry Vaughan (1621-1695), a Welsh man in blood and to the bone, often referred to himself as a “son of Ben Johnson;” a man of “religious sensibility,” whose relationship with the divine was poetic, not chaotic. The following, Corruption, is one of his best, or at least that’s what I think!



Corruption


Sure it was so. Man in those early days
Was not all stone and earth;
He shined a little, and by those weak rays
Had some glimpse of his birth.
He saw heaven o’er his head, and knew from whence
He came, condemned, hither;
And, as first love draws strange unto him: sweat and till,
All was a thorn or weed:
Nor did those last, but (like himself) died still
As soon as they did seed.
They seemed to quarrel with him, for that act
That felled him foiled them all:
He drew the curse upon the world, and cracked
The whole frame with his fall.
This made him long for home, as loath to stay
With murmurers and foes;
He sighed for Ede, and would often say,
“Ah! What bright days were those!”
Nor was heaven cold unto him; for each day
The valley or the mountain
Afforded visits, and still Paradise lay
In some green shade or fountain.
Angels lay lieger here; each bush and cell,
Each oak and highway knew them;
Walk but the fields, or sit down at some well,
And he was sure to view them.
Almighty Love! where art thou now? Mad man
Sits down and freezeth on;
He raves, and swears to stir nor fire, nor fan,
But bids the thread be spun.
I see, thy curtains are close-drawn; thy bow
Looks dim, too, in the cloud;
Sin triumphs still, and man is sunk below
The center, and his shroud.
All’s in deep sleep and night: thick darkness lies
And hatcheth o’er thy people-
But hark! what trumpet’s that? what angel cries,
“Arise! thrust in thy sickle?”
(1650)


katayoun

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