The Star

By Henry Vaughan 1621–1695 Henry Vaughan
Whatever ’tis, whose beauty here below
Attracts thee thus and makes thee stream and flow,
       And wind and curl, and wink and smile,
               Shifting thy gate and guile;

Though thy close commerce nought at all imbars
My present search, for eagles eye not stars,
       And still the lesser by the best
               And highest good is blest;

Yet, seeing all things that subsist and be,
Have their commissions from divinity,
       And teach us duty, I will see
               What man may learn from thee.

First, I am sure, the subject so respected
Is well dispos’d, for bodies once infected,
       Deprav’d, or dead, can have with thee
               No hold, nor sympathy.

Next, there’s in it a restless, pure desire
And longing for thy bright and vital fire,
       Desire that never will be quench’d,
               Nor can be writh’d, nor wrench’d.

These are the magnets which so strongly move
And work all night upon thy light and love,
       As beauteous shapes, we know not why,
               Command and guide the eye.

For where desire, celestial, pure desire
Hath taken root, and grows, and doth not tire,
       There God a commerce states, and sheds
               His secret on their heads.

This is the heart he craves, and who so will
But give it him, and grudge not, he shall feel
       That God is true, as herbs unseen
               Put on their youth and green.

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Poet Henry Vaughan 1621–1695

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Religion, Living, Nature, Arts & Sciences, God & the Divine, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Time & Brevity, Philosophy, Christianity

Poetic Terms Couplet

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, Living, Nature, Arts & Sciences, God & the Divine, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Time & Brevity, Philosophy, Christianity

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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