Sunday, June 28

Corruption

Corruption (1650)

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 strongest, so from hence
His mind sure progressed thither.
Things here were 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
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 Eden, and would often say,
“Ah! What bright days where those!”
Now was heaven cold unto him; for each day
They valley or the mountain
Afforded visits, and still Paradise lay
In some green shade or fountain.
Angles 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 centre, 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?”

Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

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