Francis Turner Palgrave.

The treasury of sacred song : selected from the English lyrical poetry of four centuries, with notes explanatory and biographical online

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Did there repair
Such losses as befell him in this air,

And would ere long
Come forth most fair and young.

This past, I threw the clothes quite o'er his head ;

And stung with fear
Of my own frailty, dropp'd down many a tear

Upon his bed ;
Then sighing whisper'd ' Happy are the dead !

What peace doth now
Rock him asleep below ! '

And yet, how few believe such doctrine springs

From a poor root,
Which all the Winter sleeps here underfoot,

And hath no wings
To raise it to the truth and light of things ;

But is still trod
By every wandering clod 3 .

O Thou! Whose Spirit did at first inflame

And warm the dead,
And by a sacred incubation, fed

With life this frame,
Which once had neither being, form, nor name;

Grant I may so
Thy steps track here below,



BOOK I HENRY V A UGH AN 95

That in these Masques and shadows, I may see

Thy sacred way ;
And by those hid ascents climb to that day,

Which breaks from Thee,
Who art in all things, though invisibly :

Shew me Thy peace,
Thy mercy, love, and ease.
1 straw, put 2 clod, countryman

CXXII
THE TIMBER

SURE thou didst flourish once ! and many springs,
Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers
Past o'er thy head ; many light hearts and wings,
Which now are dead, lodged in thy living bowers.

And still a new succession sings and flies ;

Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot
Towards the old and still enduring skies,

While the low violet thrives at their root.

But thou beneath the sad and heavy line

Of death, doth waste all senseless, cold and dark ;

Where not so much as dreams of light may shine,
Nor any thought of greenness, leaf, or bark.

And yet as if some deep hate and dissent,

Bred in thy growth betwixt high winds and thee,

Were still alive thou dost great storms resent 1
Before they come, and know'st how near they be.

Else all at rest thou liest, and the fierce breath
Of tempests can no more disturb thy ease ;

But this thy strange resentment after death

Means only those who broke, in life, thy peace.

So murder'd man, when lovely life is done,

And his blood freezed, keeps in the centre still

Some secret sense, which makes the dead blood run
At his approach that did the body kill.

And is there any murderer worse than sin?

Or any storms more foul than a lewd life ?
Or what resentient 2 can work more within,

Than true remorse, when with past sins at strife?

1 storms resent, apparently means that the trunk groans or twists
2 resentient, sympathetic feeling



96 HENRY V A UGH AN BOOK I

CXXIII
THE BIRD

HITHER thou com'st: the busy wind all night
Blew through thy lodging, where thy own warm wing
Thy pillow was. Many a sullen storm

For which coarse man seems much the fitter born
Rain'd on thy bed
And harmless head :

And now as fresh and cheerful as the light

Thy little heart in early hymns doth sing

Unto that Providence, Whose unseen arm

Curb'd them, and clothed thee well and warm.

All things that be, praise Him ; and had
Their lesson taught them when first made.

So hills and valleys into singing break;

And though poor stones have neither speech nor tongue,

While active winds and streams both run and speak,

Yet stones are deep in admiration.

Thus praise and prayer here beneath the sun

Make lesser mornings, when the great are done.

CXXIV
THE SHOWER

"-pWAS so ; I saw thy birth : That drowsy lake

1 From her faint bosom breathed thee, the disease 1
Of her sick waters, and infectious ease.

But, now at even,

Too gross for heaven,
Thou fall'st in tears, and weep'st for thy mistake.

Ah ! it is so with me : oft have I prest
Heaven with a lazy breath ; but fruitless this
Pierced not ; Love only can with quick access

Unlock the way ;

When all else stray,
The smoke and exhalations of the breast.

Yet, if as thou dost melt, and with thy train

Of drops make soft the Earth, my eyes could weep

O'er my hard heart, that 's bound-up and asleep ;

Perhaps at last,

Some such showers past
My GOD would give a Sun-shine after rain.

1 The shower is here regarded as a stagnant and a lazy exhalation



HOOK I HENRY VAUGHAN 97

cxxv

THE NIGHT

THROUGH that pure virgin shrine,
That sacred veil drawn o'er Thy glorious noon,
That men might look and live, as glow-worms shine

And face the moon :
Wise Nicodemus saw such light
As made him know his GOD by night.

No mercy-seat of gold,

No dead and dusty cherub, nor carved stone.
But His own living works did my LORD hold

And lodge alone ;

Where trees and herbs did watch and peep
And wonder, while the Jews did sleep.

Dear Night ! this world's defeat ;
The stop to busy fools; Care's check and curb;
The day of Spirits ; my soul's calm retreat

Which none disturb !

CHRIST'S progress l , and His prayer time ;
The hours to which high Heaven doth chime.

There is in GOD some say
A deep, but dazzling darkness ; as men here
Say it is late and dusky, because they

See not all clear.

O for that Night ! where I in Him
Might live invisible and dim !

1 See S. Mark i. 35 ; S. Luke xxi. 37

CXXVI
THE SHEPHERDS

SWEET, harmless lives ! [up]on whose holy leisure
Waits Innocence and pleasure
Whose leaders to those pastures and clear springs

Were Patriarchs, Saints, and Kings :
How happen'd it that in the dead of night

You, only, saw true light,
While -Palestine was fast asleep, and lay

Without one thought of Day?
Was it because those first and blessed swains
Were pilgrims on those plains
H



98 HENRY V A UGH AN BOOK I

When they received the Promise, for which now

Twas there first shown to you?
Tis true He loves that dust whereon they go

That serve Him here below,
And therefore might, for memory of those,

His love there first disclose ;
But wretched Salem, once His love, must now

No voice nor vision know:
Her stately piles with all their height and pride,

Now languished and died,
And Bethlem's humble cots above them stept,

While all her seers slept;
Her cedar, fir, hew'd stones and gold, were all

Polluted through their fall,
And those once sacred mansions were now

Mere emptiness and show.
This made the Angel call at reeds and thatch :

Yet where the shepherds watch,
And GOD'S own lodging though He could not lack

To be a common rack 1 ,
No costly pride, no soft-clothed luxury

In those thin cells could lie ;
Each stirring wind and storm blew through their cots,

Which never harbour'd plots ;
Only Content and Love and humble joys

Lived there without all noise ;
Perhaps some harmless cares for the next day

Did in their bosoms play,
As where to lead their sheep, what silent nook,

What springs or shades to look :
But that was all ; And now with gladsome care

They for the town prepare ;
They leave their flock, and in a busy talk

All towards Bethlem walk
To see their souls' great Shepherd, Who was come

To bring all stragglers home ;
Where now they find Him out, and, taught before,

That Lamb of GOD adore,
That Lamb Whose days great kings and prophets wish'd

And long'd to see, but miss'd.
The first light they beheld was bright and gay,

And turn'd their night to day ;
But to this later light they saw in Him,

Their day was dark' and dim.

1 rack, manger : see Note






HENR Y VA UGH A N 99

CXXVII
THE NA TIVITY

THOU cam'st from Heaven to Earth, that we
Might go from Earth to Heaven with Thee :
And though Thou found'st no welcome here,
Thou didst provide us mansions there.
A stable was Thy Court, and when
Men turn'd to beasts, beasts would be men :
They were Thy courtiers ; others none ;
And their poor manger was Thy throne.
No swaddling silks Thy limbs did fold,
Though Thou couldst turn Thy rags to gold.
No rockers waited on Thy birth,
No cradles stirr'd, nor songs of mirth ;
But Her chaste lap and sacred breast,
Which lodged Thee first, did give Thee rest.



CXXVIII
THE KNOT

BRIGHT Queen of Heaven ! God's Virgin Spouse !
The glad world's blessed Maid !
Whose beauty tied life to thy house l ,
And brought us saving aid ;

Thou art the true Love's-Knot ; by thee

GOD is made our ally ;
And man's inferior essence He

With His did dignify.

For coalescent by that band

We are His body grown,
Nourish'd with favours from His hand,

Whom for our Head we own.

And such a knot, what arm dares loose,

What life, what death can sever?
Which us in Him, and Him in us,

United keeps for ever.

1 Apparently, whose beauty of soul caused the Life of mankind to dwell
in thee.



H 2



HENRY V A UGH AN BOOK I

CXXIX
5. MARY MAGDALENE

DEAR, beauteous Saint ! more white than Day,
When in his naked, pure array ;
Fresher than morning-flowers, which shew
As thou in tears dost, best in dew.
How art thou changed ! how lively-fair,
Pleasing, and innocent an air,
Not tutor'd by thy glass, but free,
Native and pure, shines now in thee !
But since thy beauty doth still keep
Bloomy and fresh, why dost thou weep ?
This dusky state of sighs and tears
Durst not look on those smiling years,
When Magdal-castle l was thy seat,
Where all was sumptuous, rare and neat.
Why lies this hair despised now
Which once thy care and art did show ?
Who then did dress the much-loved toy,
In spires, globes, angry 3 curls and coy,
Which with skill'd negligence seem'd shed
About thy curious, wild, young head ?
Why is this rich, this pistic 3 nard
Spilt, and the box quite broke and marr'd ?
What pretty sullenness did haste
Thy easy hands to do this waste ?
Why art thou humbled thus, and low
As earth thy lovely head dost bow ?
Dear soul ! thou knew'st flowers here on Earth
At their LORD'S foot-stool have their birth ;
Therefore thy wither'd self in haste
Beneath His blest feet thou didst cast,
That at the root of this green tree
Thy great decays restored might be.
Thy curious vanities and rare
Odorous ointments, kept with care
And dearly bought, when thou didst see
They could not cure nor comfort thee
Like a wise, early penitent,
Thou sadly didst to Him present,
Whose interceding, meek, and calm
Blood, is the world's all-healing balm.
This, this Divine Restorative
Call'd forth thy tears, which ran in live
And hasty drops, as if they had
Their LORD so near sense to be glad.



BOOK I HENRY V A UGH AN

Learn, ladies, here the faithful cure
Makes * beauty lasting, fresh and pure ;
Learn Mary's art of tears, and then
Say, you have got the day from men.
Cheap, mighty art ! Her art of love,
Who loved much, and much more could move ;
Her art ! whose memory must last
Till truth through all the world be past;
Till His abused, despised flame 5
Return to Heaven, from whence it came,
And send a fire down, that shall bring
Destruction on his ruddy wing.

Her art ! whose pensive, weeping eyes,

Were once sin's loose and tempting spies ;

But now are fixed stars, whose light

Helps such dark stragglers to their sight.

Self-boasting Pharisee ! how blind

A judge wert thou, and how unkind !

It was impossible, that thou,

Who wert all false, should'st true grief know.

Is 't just to judge her faithful tears

By that foul rheum thy false eye wears?

This woman say'st thou is a sinner :
And sate there none such at thy dinner ?
Go, leper, go ! wash till thy flesh
Comes like a child's, spotless and fresh ;
He is still leprous that still paints :
Who saint themselves, they are no saints.

1 See Note 2 angry, defiant 3 fistic, pure ' [which] makes

5 Jlante, of Love



cxxx

THE ORNAMENT

THE lucky World shew'd me one day
Her gorgeous mart and glittering store.
Where with proud haste the rich made way
To buy, the poor came to adore.

Serious they seem'd, and bought up all
The latest modes of pride and lust ;

Although the first must surely fall,
And the last is most loathsome dust.



2 HENRY V A UGH AN BOOK I

But while each gay, alluring ware

With idle hearts and busy looks
They view'd, for Idleness hath there

Laid up all her archives and books,

Quite through their proud and pompous file,
Blushing, and in meek weeds array 'd,

With native looks which knew no guile.
Came the sheep-keeping Syrian Maid '.

Whom straight the shining row all faced,
Forced * by her artless looks and dress ;

While one cried out, We are disgraced !
For She is bravest, you confess !

Syrian Maid, the Church, under figure of Rachel 2 forced, compelled



CXXXI
THE WORLD

I SAW Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,

All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time, in hours, days, years,

Driven by the spheres,

Like a vast shadow moved ; In which the world
And all her train were hurl'd.

The doting Lover in his quaintest strain

Did there complain ;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his slights 1 ,

Wit's sour a delights ;
With gloves and knots 3 , the silly snares of pleasure ;

Yet his dear treasure
All scatter'd lay, while he his eyes did pour

Upon a flower.

The darksome Statesman 4 hung with weights and woe,
Like a thick midnight-fog, moved there so slow,

He did not stay, nor go ;
Condemning thoughts like sad eclipses scowl

Upon his soul,
And clouds of crying witnesses without

Pursued him with one shout;

Yet digg'd the mole, and lest his ways be found,
Work'd under ground,



BOOK I HENRY VAUGHAN 10;,

Where he did clutch his prey ; but One did see

That policy ;
Churches and altars fed him ; perjuries

Were gnats and flies ;
It rain'd about him blood and tears, but he

Drank them as free.

The fearful Miser on a heap of rust

Sate pining all his life there ; did scarce trust

His own hands with the dust ;
Yet would not place one piece above, but lives

In fear of thieves :
Thousands there were as frantic as himself,

And hugg'd each one his pelf.
The down-right Epicure placed heaven in sense,

And scorn 'd pretence ;
While others, slipt into a wide excess,

Said little less;
The weaker sort, slight, trivial wares enslave,

Who think them brave 5 ;
And poor, despised Truth sat counting by

Their victory.

Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
And sing, and weep, soar'd up into the ring;

But most would use no wing.
O fools said I thus to prefer dark night

Before true light !
To live in grots, and caves, and hate the day

Because it shews the way :
The way, which from this dead and dark abode

Leads up to GOD ;
A way where you might tread the Sun, and be

More bright than he !
But as I did their madness so discuss,

One whisper'd thus,
This ring the Bride-groom did for none provide,

But for His Bride.

1 slighis, sleights, tricks z sour, perhaps, unsatisfying s knots, ribbons
4 the Statesman, Pym's career, with O. Cromwell's by poetic insight, is here
(1650) unquestionably photographed 3 brave, magnificent



104 HENRY VAUGHAN Booi: I

CXXXII

MAN

WEIGHING the steadfastness 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 flowers,

Early as well as late,
Rise with the sun, and set in the same bowers ;

I would (said I) my GOD would give
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 flowers without clothes live ;
Yet Solomon was never drest so fine.

Man hath still either toys, or care ;
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 1 ,
That he hath quite forgot how to go 1 there.

He knocks at all doors, strays and roams,
Nay hath not so much wit as some stones 2 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 orderd motion, but ordain'd no rest.

1 far how to go passage, misprinted for height Postage (1650) 5 some
stones, the magnet

CXXXIII
THE WORLD

THOU art not Truth! for he that tries
Shall find thee all deceit and lies.
Thou art not Friendship ! for in thee
Tis but the bait of policy,
Which, like a viper lodged in flowers,
Its venom through that sweetness pours ;



BOOK I HENRY VAUGHAN 105

And when not so, then always 'tis
A fading paint, the short-lived bliss
Of air and humour 1 ; out and in,
Like colours in a dolphin's skin :
But must not live beyond one day,
Or for convenience ; then away.

Thou art not Riches ! for that trash.
Which one age hoards, the next doth wash
And so severely sweep away
That few remember where it lay.
So, rapid streams the wealthy land
About them have at their command ;
And shifting channels here restore,
There break down, what they bank'd before.

Thou art not Honour ! for those gay
Feathers will wear and drop away ;
And princes to some upstart line
Give new ones, that are full as fine.

Thou art not Pleasure ! for thy rose
Upon a thorn doth still repose ;
Which, if not cropt, will quickly shed,
But soon as cropt, grows dull and dead.

Thou art the sand, which fills one glass,
And then doth to another pass ;
And could I put thee to a stay,
Thou art but dust ! Then go thy way,
And leave me clean and bright, though poor :
Who stops thee doth but daub his floor;
And, swallow-like, when he hath done,
To unknown dwellings must be gone !

Welcome, pure thoughts, and peaceful hours,
Enrich'd with sunshine and with showers ;
Welcome fair hopes, and holy cares,
The not to be repented shares
Of Time and business : the sure road
Unto my last and loved abode !

O supreme Bliss :
The Circle, Centre, and Abyss
Of blessings, never let me miss
Nor leave that path, which leads to Thee.
Who art alone all things to me !
I hear, I see, all the long day
The noise and pomp of the Broad Way :
I note their coarse and proud approaches,
Their silks, perfumes, and glittering coaches.
But in the Narrow Way to Thee
I observe only poverty,



106 HENRY VAUGHAN BOOK I

And despised things ; and all along
The ragged, mean, and humble throng
Are still on foot ; and as they go
They sigh, and say, their LORD went so.

1 humour, moisture



CXXXIV
AN ELEGY

THOU that know'st for whom I mourn,
And why these tears appear,
That keep'st account till he return

Of all his dust left here ;
As easily Thou might'st prevent

As now produce, these tears,
And add unto that day he went

A fair supply of years.
But 'twas my sin that forced Thy hand

To cull this primrose out,
That by Thy early choice forewarn'd

My soul might look about.

O what a vanity is Man !

How like the eye's quick wink
His cottage fails ; whose narrow span

Begins e'en at the brink !
Nine months Thy hands are fashioning us,

And many years alas !
Ere we can lisp, or aught discuss

Concerning Thee, must pass ;
Yet have I known Thy slightest things,

A feather, or a shell,
A stick, or rod, which some chance brings,

The best of us excel ;
Yea, I have known these shreds outlast

A fair compacted frame,
And for one twenty we have past 1

Almost outlive our name.
Yet had our pilgrimage been free,

And smooth without a thorn,
Pleasures had foil'd " Eternity,

And tares had choked the corn.
Thus by the Cross Salvation runs ;

Affliction is a mother,
Whose painful throes yield many sons,

Each fairer than the other.



BOOK I HENRY V A UGH AX 107

A silent tear can pierce Thy throne,

When loud joys want a wing ;
And sweeter airs stream from a groan,

Than any arted 3 string.

Thus, LORD, I see my gain is great,

My loss but little to it;
Yet something more I must entreat,

And only Thou canst do it.
O let me like him know my end!

And be as glad to find it :
And -whatsoe'er Thou shalt commend

Still let Thy servant mind it !
Then make my soul white as his own,

My faith as pure and steady,
And deck me, LORD, with the same crown

That has crown'd him already !

i See Note 2 Or, soird: the first letter dubious

3 arted, played on skilfully



cxxxv

FRIENDS DEPARTED

THEY are all gone into the world of light !
And I alone sit lingering here ;
Their very memory is fair and bright,

And my sad thoughts doth clear.

It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,

Like stars upon some gloomy grove,

Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest
After the sun's remove.

I see them walking in an air of glory,

Whose light doth trample l on my days :

My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
Mere glimmering and decays.

O holy Hope ! and high Humility,

High as the heavens above !

These are your walks, and you have shew'd them me,
To kindle my cold love.

Dear, beauteous Death ! the jewel of the Just,

Shining no where, but in the dark ;
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust ;
Could man outlook that mark !



io8 HENRY VAUGHAN BOOK I

He that hath found some fledged bird's nest, may kno\v

At first sight, if the bird be flown ;
But what fair well 2 or grove he sings in now,
That is to him unknown.

And yet as Angels in some brighter dreams
Call to the soul, when man doth sleep :
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,
And into glory peep.

If a star were confined into a tomb,

Her captive flames must needs burn there ;
But when the hand that lock'd her up, gives room,
She '11 shine through all the sphere.

O Father of eternal life, and all
Created glories under Thee !
Resume Thy spirit 3 from this world of thrall
Into true liberty.

Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill

My perspective still as they pass :
Or else remove me hence unto that hill,
Where I shall need no glass.

1 trampU, tread on and efface 2 well, spring-head 3 Thy spirit,

unless a misprint for my, may mean, the Soul Thou hast placed here



CXXXVI
THE DAWNING

AH ! what time wilt Thou come ? when shall that cry,
The Bridegroom 's coming ! fill the sky ?
Shall it in the evening run
When our words and works are done ?
Or will Thy all-surprizing light

Break at midnight,

When either sleep, or some dark pleasure
Possesseth mad Man without measure ?
Or shall these early, fragrant hours

Unlock Thy bowers?
And with their blush of light descry
Thy locks crown'd with eternity ?
Indeed, it is the only time
That with Thy glory doth best chime ;
All now are stirring, every field

Full hymns doth yield ;



BOOK I HENRY V A UGH AN 1 09

The whole Creation shakes off night,
And for Thy shadow, looks l the light ;
Stars now vanish without number,
Sleepy planets set, and slumber,
The pursy clouds disband, and scatter;
All expect some sudden matter ;
Not one beam triumphs, but from far
That Morning-star.

O at what time soever Thou,

Unknown to us the heavens wilt bow,

And, with Thy Angels in the van,

Descend to judge poor careless Man,

Grant, I may not like puddle lie

In a corrupt security,

Where, if a traveller water crave,

He finds it dead, and in a grave ;

But as this restless, vocal Spring

All day and night doth run, and sing,

And though here born, yet is acquainted 2

Elsewhere, and flowing keeps untainted ;

So let me all my busy age

In Thy free sendees engage ;

And though while here of force I must

Have commerce sometimes with poor dust,

And in my flesh, though vile and low,

As this doth in her channel, flow 3 ,

Yet let my course, my aim, my love,

And chief acquaintance be above ;

So when that day and hour shall come,

In which Thyself will be the Sun,

Thou'lt find me drest, and on my way,

Watching the break of Thy great day.

1 looks [for] 2 acquainted, knows other regions " Jlou', move

CXXXVII
THE THRONE



with these eyes, closed now by Thee,
But then restored,
The great and white throne I shall see

Of my dread LORD ;
And lowly kneeling for the most

Stiff, then must kneel,
Shall look on Him, at Whose high cost
Unseen such joys I feel :



HENRY V A UGH AN BOOK I

Whatever arguments or skill

Wise heads shall use,
Tears only and my blushes still

I will produce.
And should those speechless beggars fail,

Which oft have won,
Then taught by Thee I will prevail,

And say, Thy will be done !



CXXXVIII
THE DA Y OF JUDGMENT

ODAY of life, of light, of love !
The only day dealt from above !
A day so fresh, so bright, so brave 1 ,
'Twill show us each forgotten grave,
And make the dead, like flowers, arise
Youthful and fair to see new skies.
All other days, compared to thee,
Are but Light's weak minority ;
They are but veils and cypress 2 drawn
Like clouds, before thy glorious dawn.

come ! arise ! shine ! do not stay,

Dearly loved Day !

The fields are long since white, and I
With earnest groans for freedom cry ;
My fellow-creatures too say, Come !
And stones, though speechless, are not dumb.



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