They are all Gone into the World of Light

By Henry Vaughan 1621–1695 Henry Vaughan
They are all gone into the world of light!
       And I alone sit ling’ring here;
Their very memory is fair and bright,
       And my sad thoughts doth clear.

It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,
       Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest,
       After the sun’s remove.

I see them walking in an air of glory,
       Whose light doth trample on my days:
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
       Mere glimmering and decays.

O holy Hope! and high Humility,
       High as the heavens above!
These are your walks, and you have show’d them me
       To kindle my cold love.

Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of the just,
       Shining nowhere, but in the dark;
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust
       Could man outlook that mark!

He that hath found some fledg’d bird’s nest, may know
       At first sight, if the bird be flown;
But what fair well or grove he sings in now,
       That is to him unknown.

And yet as angels in some brighter dreams
       Call to the soul, when man doth sleep:
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes
       And into glory peep.

If a star were confin’d into a tomb,
       Her captive flames must needs burn there;
But when the hand that lock’d her up, gives room,
       She’ll shine through all the sphere.

O Father of eternal life, and all
       Created glories under thee!
Resume thy spirit from this world of thrall
       Into true liberty.

Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
       My perspective still as they pass,
Or else remove me hence unto that hill,
       Where I shall need no glass.

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Poet Henry Vaughan 1621–1695

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

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

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 Christianity, Philosophy, Faith & Doubt, God & the Divine, Arts & Sciences, Religion

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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