I Walk’d the Other Day

By Henry Vaughan 1621–1695 Henry Vaughan
I walk’d the other day, to spend my hour,
       Into a field,
Where I sometimes had seen the soil to yield
       A gallant flow’r;
But winter now had ruffled all the bow’r
       And curious store
       I knew there heretofore.

Yet I, whose search lov’d not to peep and peer
       I’ th’ face of things,
Thought with my self, there might be other springs
       Besides this here,
Which, like cold friends, sees us but once a year;
       And so the flow’r
       Might have some other bow’r.

Then taking up what I could nearest spy,
       I digg’d about
That place where I had seen him to grow out;
       And by and by
I saw the warm recluse alone to lie,
       Where fresh and green
       He liv’d of us unseen.

Many a question intricate and rare
       Did I there strow;
But all I could extort was, that he now
       Did there repair
Such losses as befell him in this air,
       And would ere long
       Come forth most fair and young.

This past, I threw the clothes quite o’er his head;
       And stung with fear
Of my own frailty dropp’d down many a tear
       Upon his bed;
Then sighing whisper’d, “happy are the dead!
       What peace doth now
       Rock him asleep below!”

And yet, how few believe such doctrine springs
       From a poor root,
Which all the winter sleeps here under foot,
       And hath no wings
To raise it to the truth and light of things;
       But is still trod
       By ev’ry wand’ring clod.

O Thou! whose spirit did at first inflame
       And warm the dead,
And by a sacred incubation fed
       With life this frame,
Which once had neither being, form, nor name;
       Grant I may so
       Thy steps track here below,

That in these masques and shadows I may see
       Thy sacred way;
And by those hid ascents climb to that day,
       Which breaks from Thee,
Who art in all things, though invisibly!
       Shew me thy peace,
       Thy mercy, love, and ease,

And from this care, where dreams and sorrows reign,
       Lead me above,
Where light, joy, leisure, and true comforts move
       Without all pain;
There, hid in thee, shew me his life again,
       At whose dumb urn
       Thus all the year I mourn.

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Poet Henry Vaughan 1621–1695

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Religion, Landscapes & Pastorals, Nature, Arts & Sciences, God & the Divine, Faith & Doubt, Philosophy, Christianity

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Henry Vaughan, the major Welsh poet of the Commonwealth period, has been among the writers benefiting most from the twentieth-century revival of interest in the poetry of John Donne and his followers. Vaughan's early poems, notably those published in the Poems of 1646 and Olor Iscanus of 1651, place him among the "Sons of Ben," in the company of other imitators of Ben Jonson, such as the Cavalier poets Sir William Davenant and

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Landscapes & Pastorals, Nature, Arts & Sciences, God & the Divine, Faith & Doubt, Philosophy, Christianity

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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