by Henry Vaughan

WITH what deep murmurs, through Time's silent stealth,
Doth thy transparent, cool, and wat'ry wealth,
                    Here flowing fall,
                    And chide and call,
As if his liquid, loose retinue stay'd
Ling'ring, and were of this steep place afraid,
                    The common pass,
                    Where clear as glass,
                    All must descend
                    Not to an end,
But quick'ned by this deep and rocky grave,
Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.

       Dear stream !  dear bank ! where often I
       Have sat, and pleased my pensive eye ;
       Why, since each drop of thy quick store
       Runs thither whence it flow'd before,
       Should poor souls fear a shade or night,
       Who came—sure—from a sea of light ?
       Or, since those drops are all sent back
       So sure to Thee that none doth lack,
       Why should frail flesh doubt any more
       That what God takes He'll not restore ?

       O useful element and clear !
       My sacred wash and cleanser here ;
       My first consigner unto those
       Fountains of life, where the Lamb goes !
       What sublime truths and wholesome themes
       Lodge in thy mystical, deep streams !
       Such as dull man can never find,
       Unless that Spirit lead his mind,
       Which first upon thy face did move
       And hatch'd all with His quick'ning love.
       As this loud brook's incessant fall
       In streaming rings restagnates all,
       Which reach by course the bank, and then
       Are no more seen : just so pass men.
       O my invisible estate,
       My glorious liberty, still late !
       Thou art the channel my soul seeks,
       Not this with cataracts and creeks.

Vaughan, Henry. The Poems of Henry Vaughan, Silurist. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, Ed. London, Lawrence & Bullen Ltd., 1896. 280-281.

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