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,
“ 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.
||to Works of Henry Vaughan|
Site copyright ©1996-2000 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on October 15, 2000.
Background by the kind permission of Gini Schmitz.