The Hand and Foot

By Jones Very 1813–1880 Jones Very
The hand and foot that stir not, they shall find
Sooner than all the rightful place to go;
Now in their motion free as roving wind,
Though first no snail more limited and slow;
I mark them full of labor all the day,
Each active motion made in perfect rest;
They cannot from their path mistaken stray,
Though ’tis not theirs, yet in it they are blest;
The bird has not their hidden track found out,
Nor cunning fox, though full of art he be;
It is the way unseen, the certain route,
Where ever bound, yet thou art ever free;
The path of Him, whose perfect law of love
Bids spheres and atoms in just order move.


Source: Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950)

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Poet Jones Very 1813–1880

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Nature, The Body

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Jones  Very

Biography

Though Jones Very was a minor figure in Transcendentalist circles, his poetry and criticism were highly regarded by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, and the pioneering educator Elizabeth Palmer Peabody. His close study of Shakespeare led him to write almost exclusively in Shakespearian sonnets, and his sequences on religion and nature gained recognition for their graceful lyricism. However, Very’s intense religious devotion . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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