Wonder

By Thomas Traherne 1637–1674 Thomas Traherne
       How like an angel came I down!
               How bright are all things here!
When first among his works I did appear
       O how their glory me did crown!
The world resembled his eternity,
               In which my soul did walk;
       And ev’ry thing that I did see
               Did with me talk.

       The skies in their magnificence,
               The lively, lovely air;
Oh how divine, how soft, how sweet, how fair!
       The stars did entertain my sense,
And all the works of God, so bright and pure,
               So rich and great did seem,
       As if they ever must endure
               In my esteem.

       A native health and innocence
               Within my bones did grow,
And while my God did all his glories show,
       I felt a vigour in my sense
That was all spirit. I within did flow
               With seas of life, like wine;
       I nothing in the world did know
               But ’twas divine.

       Harsh ragged objects were conceal’d,
               Oppressions tears and cries,
Sins, griefs, complaints, dissensions, weeping eyes
       Were hid, and only things reveal’d
Which heav’nly spirits, and the angels prize.
               The state of innocence
       And bliss, not trades and poverties,
               Did fill my sense.

       The streets were pav’d with golden stones,
               The boys and girls were mine,
Oh how did all their lovely faces shine!
       The sons of men were holy ones,
In joy and beauty they appear’d to me,
               And every thing which here I found,
       While like an angel I did see,
               Adorn’d the ground.

       Rich diamond and pearl and gold
               In ev’ry place was seen;
Rare splendours, yellow, blue, red, white and green,
       Mine eyes did everywhere behold.
Great wonders cloth’d with glory did appear,
               Amazement was my bliss,
       That and my wealth was ev’ry where:
               No joy to this!

       Curs’d and devis’d proprieties,
               With envy, avarice
And fraud, those fiends that spoil even Paradise,
       Flew from the splendour of mine eyes,
And so did hedges, ditches, limits, bounds,
               I dream’d not aught of those,
       But wander’d over all men’s grounds,
               And found repose.

       Proprieties themselves were mine,
               And hedges ornaments;
Walls, boxes, coffers, and their rich contents
       Did not divide my joys, but all combine.
Clothes, ribbons, jewels, laces, I esteem’d
               My joys by others worn:
       For me they all to wear them seem’d
               When I was born.

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Poet Thomas Traherne 1637–1674

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Faith & Doubt, Nature, Time & Brevity, Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Landscapes & Pastorals, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Unlike the major figures of the "Metaphysical Revival," John Donne and George Herbert, whose works were widely known and discussed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Thomas Traherne is almost wholly a discovery of twentieth-century scholarship. In his own lifetime he published only one book, Roman Forgeries (1673), and, as a clergyman he did not rise to prominence. So obscure is his background, in fact, that scholars . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Nature, Time & Brevity, Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Landscapes & Pastorals, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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