VANITY OF SPIRIT.
by Henry Vaughan


QUITE spent with thoughts, I left my cell, and lay
Where a shrill spring tun'd to the early day.
      I begg'd here long, and groan'd to know
      Who gave the clouds so brave a bow,
      Who bent the spheres, and circled in
      Corruption with this glorious ring ;
      What is His name, and how I might
      Descry some part of His great light.
I summon'd Nature ; pierc'd through all her store ;
Broke up some seals, which none had touch'd before
      Her womb, her bosom, and her head,
      Where all her secrets lay abed,
      I rifled quite ; and having past
      Through all the creatures, came at last
      To search my self, where I did find
      Traces, and sounds of a strange kind.
Here of this mighty spring I found some drills,
With echoes beaten from th' eternal hills.
      Weak beams and fires flash'd to my sight,
      Like a young East, or moonshine night,
      Which show'd me in a nook cast by
      A piece of much antiquity,
      With hieroglyphics quite dismember'd,
      And broken letters scarce remember'd.
I took them up, andómuch joy'dówent about
T' unite those pieces, hoping to find out
      The mystery ; but this ne'er done,
      That little light I had was gone.
      It griev'd me much.   At last, said I,
      “Since in these veils my eclips'd eye
      May not approach Thee—for at night
      Who can have commerce with the light ?—
      I'll disapparel, and to buy
      But one half-glance, most gladly die.”



Source:
Vaughan, Henry. The Poems of Henry Vaughan, Silurist. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, Ed. London, Lawrence & Bullen Ltd., 1896. 57-58.



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