by Henry Vaughan

A WARD, and still in bonds, one day
              I stole abroad ;
It was high-Spring, and all the way
       Primros'd, and hung with shade :
       Yet was it frost within,
              And surly winds
Blasted my infant buds, and sin
       Like clouds eclips'd my mind.


Storm'd thus, I straight perceiv'd my Spring
              Mere stage and show ;
My walk a monstrous, mountain'd thing,
       Rough-cast with rocks, and snow ;
       And as a pilgrim's eye,
              Far from relief,
Measures the melancholy sky,
       Then drops, and rains for grief :


So sigh'd I upwards still ; at last
              'Twixt steps and falls,
I reach'd the pinnacle, where plac'd
       I found a pair of scales ;
       I took them up, and laid
              In th' one late pains ;
The other smoke and pleasures weigh'd,
       But prov'd the heavier grains.


With that, some cried, “Away ;” straight I
              Obey'd, and led
Full East, a fair, fresh field could spy ;
       Some call'd it, Jacob's Bed ;
       A virgin soil, which no
              Rude feet e'er trod ;
Where—since He stept there—only go
       Prophets, and friends of God.


Here I repos'd ; but scarce well set,
              A grove descried
Of stately height, whose branches met
       And mix'd, on every side ;
       I enter'd, and once in,
              Amaz'd to see't,
Found all was chang'd, and a new Spring
       Did all my senses greet.


The unthrift sun shot vital gold,
              A thousand pieces ;
And heaven its azure did unfold
       Chequer'd with snowy fleeces ;
       The air was all in spice,
              And every bush
A garland wore : thus fed my eyes,
       But all the ear[th] lay hush.


Only a little Fountain lent
              Some use for ears,
And on the dumb shades language spent
       The music of her tears ;
       I drew her near, and found
              The cistern full
Of divers stones, some bright and round,
       Others ill-shap'd and dull.


The first, pray mark, as quick as light
              Danc'd through the flood ;
But th' last, more heavy than the night,
       Nail'd to the centre stood ;
       I wonder'd much, but tir'd
              At last with thought,
My restless eye, that still desir'd,
       As strange an object brought.


It was a bank of flowers, where I descried,
              Though 'twas mid-day,
Some fast asleep, others broad-eyed,
       And taking in the ray ;
       Here musing long, I heard
              A rushing wind,
Which still increas'd, but whence it stirr'd
       Nowhere I could not find.


I turn'd me round, and to each shade
              Dispatch'd an eye,
To see if any leaf had made
       Least motion or reply ;
       But while I list'ning sought
              My mind to ease
By knowing, where 'twas, or where not,
          It whisper'd “ Where I please.”
“Lord,” then said I, “on me one breath,
    And let me die before my death !”

CANT. CAP. 5. VER. 17.

    Arise, O North, and come thou South-wind, and
blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow

Vaughan, Henry. The Poems of Henry Vaughan, Silurist. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, Ed. London, Lawrence & Bullen Ltd., 1896. 19-22.

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