Written in the year 1656.

by Henry Vaughan

PEACE ? and to all the world ?  Sure One,
And He the Prince of Peace, hath none !
He travels to be born, and then
Is born to travel more again.
Poor Galilee ! thou canst not be
The place for His Nativity.
His restless mother's call'd away,
And not deliver'd till she pay.

    A tax ? 'tis so still ! we can see
The Church thrive in her misery,
And, like her Head at Beth'lem, rise,
When she, oppress'd with troubles, lies.
Rise ?—should all fall, we cannot be
In more extremities than He.
Great Type of passions !  Come what will,
Thy grief exceeds all copies still.
Thou cam'st from Heaven to Earth, that we
Might go from Earth to Heav'n with Thee :
And though Thou found'st no welcome here,
Thou didst provide us mansions there.
A stable was Thy Court, and when
Men turn'd to beasts, beasts would be men :
They were Thy courtiers ; others none ;
And their poor manger was Thy throne.
No swaddling silks Thy limbs did fold,
Though Thou couldst turn Thy rays to gold.
No rockers waited on Thy birth,
No cradles stirr'd, nor songs of mirth ;
But her chaste lap and sacred breast,
Which lodg'd Thee first, did give Thee rest.

    But stay : what light is that doth stream
And drop here in a gilded beam ?
It is Thy star runs page, and brings
Thy tributary Eastern kings.
Lord !  grant some light to us, that we
May with them find the way to Thee !
Behold what mists eclipse the day !
How dark it is !  Shed down one ray,
To guide us out of this sad night,
And say once more, “Let there be light.”

Vaughan, Henry. The Poems of Henry Vaughan, Silurist. vol II.
E. K. Chambers, Ed. London, Lawrence & Bullen Ltd., 1896. 259-260.

Back to Works of Henry Vaughan

Site copyright ©1996-2000 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on October 10, 2000.

Background by the kind permission of Gini Schmitz.