Tomorrow, April 17, marks the birthday of poet Henry Vaughan…
We honor the occasion with seven of our favorite poems by Henry Vaughan …
Henry Vaughan (17 April 1621 – 23 April 1695) was a Welsh metaphysical poet, author, translator, and physician, who wrote in English. He is chiefly known for religious poetry contained in Silex Scintillans, published in 1650, with a second part in 1655. In 1646 his poems, with the Tenth Satyre of Juvenal Englished, were published, followed by a second volume in 1647. Meanwhile, he had been “converted” by reading the religious poet George Herbert and gave up “idle verse”. The prose Mount of Olives or Solitary Devotions (1652) show the depth of his religious convictions and the authenticity of his poetic genius. (via Wikipedia)
Henry Vaughan: Oxford Poetry Library
WEIGHING the stedfastness and state
Of some mean things which here below reside,
Where birds, like watchful clocks, the noiseless date
And intercourse of times divide,
Where bees at night get home and hive, and flow’rs
Early, as well as late,
Rise with the sun and set in the same bow’rs ;
The staidness of these things to man ! for these
To His divine appointments ever cleave,
And no new business breaks their peace ;
The birds nor sow nor reap, yet sup and dine ;
The flow’rs without clothes live,
Yet Solomon was never dress’d so fine.
He hath no root, nor to one place is tied,
But ever restless and irregular
About this Earth doth run and ride.
He knows he hath a home, but scarce knows where ;
He says it is so far,
That he hath quite forgot how to go there.
Nay, hath not so much wit as some stones have,
Which in the darkest nights point to their homes,
By some hid sense their Maker gave ;
Man is the shuttle, to whose winding quest
And passage through these looms
God order’d motion, but ordain’d no rest.