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Best Famous Henry Vaughan Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Henry Vaughan poems. This is a select list of the best famous Henry Vaughan poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Henry Vaughan poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Henry Vaughan poems.

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Written by Henry Vaughan |

The Timber

 Sure thou didst flourish once! and many springs, 
Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers, 
Pass'd o'er thy head; many light hearts and wings, 
Which now are dead, lodg'd 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 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.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

The Evening-Watch: A Dialogue


1 Farewell! I go to sleep; but when
2 The day-star springs, I'll wake again.
SOUL 3 Go, sleep in peace; and when thou liest 4 Unnumber'd in thy dust, when all this frame 5 Is but one dram, and what thou now descriest 6 In sev'ral parts shall want a name, 7 Then may his peace be with thee, and each dust 8 Writ in his book, who ne'er betray'd man's trust! BODY 9 Amen! but hark, ere we two stray 10 How many hours dost think 'till day? SOUL 11 Ah go; th'art weak, and sleepy.
Heav'n 12 Is a plain watch, and without figures winds 13 All ages up; who drew this circle, even 14 He fills it; days and hours are blinds.
15 Yet this take with thee.
The last gasp of time 16 Is thy first breath, and man's eternal prime.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

The Morning-Watch

 1 O joys! infinite sweetness! with what flow'rs
2 And shoots of glory my soul breaks and buds!
3 All the long hours
4 Of night, and rest,
5 Through the still shrouds
6 Of sleep, and clouds,
7 This dew fell on my breast;
8 Oh, how it bloods
9 And spirits all my earth! Hark! In what rings
10 And hymning circulations the quick world
11 Awakes and sings;
12 The rising winds
13 And falling springs,
14 Birds, beasts, all things
15 Adore him in their kinds.
16 Thus all is hurl'd 17 In sacred hymns and order, the great chime 18 And symphony of nature.
Prayer is 19 The world in tune, 20 A spirit voice, 21 And vocal joys 22 Whose echo is heav'n's bliss.
23 O let me climb 24 When I lie down! The pious soul by night 25 Is like a clouded star whose beams, though said 26 To shed their light 27 Under some cloud, 28 Yet are above, 29 And shine and move 30 Beyond that misty shroud.
31 So in my bed, 32 That curtain'd grave, though sleep, like ashes, hide 33 My lamp and life, both shall in thee abide.

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Written by Henry Vaughan |

The Retreat

 1 Happy those early days, when I
2 Shin'd in my angel-infancy!
3 Before I understood this place
4 Appointed for my second race,
5 Or taught my soul to fancy ought
6 But a white, celestial thought;
7 When yet I had not walk'd above
8 A mile or two from my first love,
9 And looking back (at that short space)
10 Could see a glimpse of his bright face;
11 When on some gilded cloud or flow'r
12 My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
13 And in those weaker glories spy
14 Some shadows of eternity;
15 Before I taught my tongue to wound
16 My conscience with a sinful sound,
17 Or had the black art to dispense,
18 A sev'ral sin to ev'ry sense,
19 But felt through all this fleshly dress
20 Bright shoots of everlastingness.
21 O how I long to travel back, 22 And tread again that ancient track! 23 That I might once more reach that plain, 24 Where first I left my glorious train, 25 From whence th' enlighten'd spirit sees 26 That shady city of palm trees.
27 But ah! my soul with too much stay 28 Is drunk, and staggers in the way.
29 Some men a forward motion love, 30 But I by backward steps would move; 31 And when this dust falls to the urn, 32 In that state I came, return.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

The Nativity

 Peace? and to all the world? sure, One
And He the Prince of Peace, hath none.
He travels to be born, and then Is born to travel more again.
Poor Galilee! thou canst not be The place for His nativity.
His restless mother's called away, And not delivered till she pay.
A tax? 'tis so still! we can see The church thrive in her misery; And like her Head at Bethlem, rise When she, oppressed with troubles, lies.
Rise? should all fall, we cannot be In more extremities than He.
Great Type of passions! come what will, Thy grief exceeds all copies still.
Thou cam'st from heaven to earth, that we Might go from earth to heaven with Thee.
And though Thou foundest no welcome here, Thou didst provide us mansions there.
A stable was Thy court, and when Men turned 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 rays to gold.
No rockers waited on Thy birth, No cradles stirred, nor songs of mirth; But her chaste lap and sacred breast Which lodged Thee first did give Thee rest.
But stay: what light is that doth stream, And drop here in a gilded beam? It is Thy star runs page, and brings Thy tributary Eastern kings.
Lord! grant some light to us, that we May with them find the way to Thee.
Behold what mists eclipse the day: How dark it is! shed down one ray To guide us out of this sad night, And say once more, "Let there be light.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

Christs Nativity

 1 Awake, glad heart! get up and sing!
2 It is the birth-day of thy King.
3 Awake! awake! 4 The Sun doth shake 5 Light from his locks, and all the way 6 Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.
7 Awake, awake! hark how th' wood rings; 8 Winds whisper, and the busy springs 9 A concert make; 10 Awake! awake! 11 Man is their high-priest, and should rise 12 To offer up the sacrifice.
13 I would I were some bird, or star, 14 Flutt'ring in woods, or lifted far 15 Above this inn 16 And road of sin! 17 Then either star or bird should be 18 Shining or singing still to thee.
19 I would I had in my best part 20 Fit rooms for thee! or that my heart 21 Were so clean as 22 Thy manger was! 23 But I am all filth, and obscene; 24 Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make clean.
25 Sweet Jesu! will then.
Let no more 26 This leper haunt and soil thy door! 27 Cure him, ease him, 28 O release him! 29 And let once more, by mystic birth, 30 The Lord of life be born in earth.

Written by Henry Vaughan |


 How rich, O Lord! how fresh thy visits are! 
'Twas but just now my bleak leaves hopeless hung 
Sullied with dust and mud; 
Each snarling blast shot through me, and did share 
Their youth, and beauty, cold showers nipt, and wrung 
Their spiciness and blood; 
But since thou didst in one sweet glance survey 
Their sad decays, I flourish, and once more 
Breath all perfumes, and spice; 
I smell a dew like myrrh, and all the day 
Wear in my bosom a full sun; such store 
Hath one beam from thy eyes.
But, ah, my God! what fruit hast thou of this? What one poor leaf did ever I yet fall To wait upon thy wreath? Thus thou all day a thankless weed dost dress, And when th'hast done, a stench or fog is all The odor I bequeath.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

Etesia Absent

 Love, the world's life! What a sad death
Thy absence is to lose our breath
At once and die, is but to live
Enlarged, without the scant reprieve
Of pulse and air: whose dull returns
And narrow circles the soul mourns.
But to be dead alive, and still To wish, but never have our will: To be possessed, and yet to miss; To wed a true but absent bliss: Are lingering tortures, and their smart Dissects and racks and grinds the heart! As soul and body in that state Which unto us seems separate, Cannot be said to live, until Reunion; which days fulfil And slow-paced seasons: so in vain Through hours and minutes (Time's long train,) I look for thee, and from thy sight, As from my soul, for life and light.
For till thine eyes shine so on me, Mine are fast-closed and will not see.

Written by Henry Vaughan |



Bright shadows of true Rest! some shoots of bliss, 
Heaven once a week; 
The next world's gladness prepossest in this; 
A day to seek; 
Eternity in time; the steps by which 
We Climb above all ages; Lamps that light 
Man through his heap of dark days; and the rich, 
And full redemption of the whole week's flight.
2 The Pulleys unto headlong man; time's bower; The narrow way; Transplanted Paradise; God's walking hour; The Cool o'th' day; The Creatures' _Jubilee_; God's parle with dust; Heaven here; Man on the hills of Myrrh, and flowers; Angels descending; the Returns of Trust; A Gleam of glory, after six-days'-showers.
3 The Church's love-feasts; Time's Prerogative, And Interest Deducted from the whole; The Combs, and hive, And home of rest.
The milky way chalked out with suns; a clue That guides through erring hours; and in full story A taste of Heav'n on earth; the pledge, and cue Of a full feast: And the Out Courts of glory.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

The Relapse

 My God, how gracious art thou! I had slipt 
Almost to hell, 
And on the verge of that dark, dreadful pit 
Did hear them yell, 
But O thy love! thy rich, almighty love 
That sav'd my soul, 
And checkt their fury, when I saw them move, 
And heard them howl; 
O my sole comfort, take no more these ways, 
This hideous path, 
And I will mend my own without delays, 
Cease thou thy wrath! 
I have deserv'd a thick, Egyptian damp, 
Dark as my deeds, 
Should mist within me, and put out that lamp 
Thy spirit feeds; 
A darting conscience full of stabs and fears; 
No shade but Yew, 
Sullen, and sad eclipses, cloudy spheres, 
These are my due.
But he that with his blood, (a price too dear,) My scores did pay, Bid me, by virtue from him, challenge here The brightest day; Sweet, downy thoughts; soft lily-shades; calm streams; Joys full and true; Fresh, spicy mornings; and eternal beams These are his due.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

Silence and Stealth of Days

 Silence, and stealth of days! 'tis now 
Since thou art gone, 
Twelve hundred hours, and not a brow 
But clouds hang on.
As he that in some cave's thick damp Lockt from the light, Fixeth a solitary lamp, To brave the night, And walking from his sun, when past That glim'ring ray Cuts through the heavy mists in haste Back to his day, So o'r fled minutes I retreat Unto that hour Which show'd thee last, but did defeat Thy light, and power, I search, and rack my soul to see Those beams again, But nothing but the snuff to me Appeareth plain; That dark and dead sleeps in its known And common urn, But those fled to their Maker's throne There shine and burn; O could I track them! but souls must Track one the other, And now the spirit, not the dust, Must be thy brother.
Yet I have one Pearl by whose light All things I see, And in the heart of earth and night Find heaven and thee.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

They are all Gone into the World of Light

 1 They are all gone into the world of light!
2 And I alone sit ling'ring here;
3 Their very memory is fair and bright,
4 And my sad thoughts doth clear.
5 It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast, 6 Like stars upon some gloomy grove, 7 Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest, 8 After the sun's remove.
9 I see them walking in an air of glory, 10 Whose light doth trample on my days: 11 My days, which are at best but dull and hoary, 12 Mere glimmering and decays.
13 O holy Hope! and high Humility, 14 High as the heavens above! 15 These are your walks, and you have show'd them me 16 To kindle my cold love.
17 Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of the just, 18 Shining nowhere, but in the dark; 19 What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust 20 Could man outlook that mark! 21 He that hath found some fledg'd bird's nest, may know 22 At first sight, if the bird be flown; 23 But what fair well or grove he sings in now, 24 That is to him unknown.
25 And yet as angels in some brighter dreams 26 Call to the soul, when man doth sleep: 27 So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes 28 And into glory peep.
29 If a star were confin'd into a tomb, 30 Her captive flames must needs burn there; 31 But when the hand that lock'd her up, gives room, 32 She'll shine through all the sphere.
33 O Father of eternal life, and all 34 Created glories under thee! 35 Resume thy spirit from this world of thrall 36 Into true liberty.
37 Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill 38 My perspective still as they pass, 39 Or else remove me hence unto that hill, 40 Where I shall need no glass.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

The True Christians

 So stick up ivy and the bays,
And then restore the heathen ways.
Green will remind you of the spring, Though this great day denies the thing.
And mortifies the earth and all But your wild revels, and loose hall.
Could you wear flowers, and roses strow Blushing upon your breasts' warm snow, That very dress your lightness will Rebuke, and wither at the ill.
The brightness of this day we owe Not unto music, masque, nor show: Nor gallant furniture, nor plate; But to the manger's mean estate.
His life while here, as well as birth, Was but a check to pomp and mirth; And all man's greatness you may see Condemned by His humility.
Then leave your open house and noise, To welcome Him with holy joys, And the poor shepherd's watchfulness: Whom light and hymns from heaven did bless.
What you abound with, cast abroad To those that want, and ease your load.
Who empties thus, will bring more in; But riot is both loss and sin.
Dress finely what comes not in sight, And then you keep your Christmas right.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

The Water-Fall

 1 With what deep murmurs through time's silent stealth
2 Doth thy transparent, cool, and wat'ry wealth
3 Here flowing fall,
4 And chide, and call,
5 As if his liquid, loose retinue stay'd
6 Ling'ring, and were of this steep place afraid;
7 The common pass
8 Where, clear as glass,
9 All must descend
10 Not to an end,
11 But quicken'd by this deep and rocky grave,
12 Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.
13 Dear stream! dear bank, where often I 14 Have sate and pleas'd my pensive eye, 15 Why, since each drop of thy quick store 16 Runs thither whence it flow'd before, 17 Should poor souls fear a shade or night, 18 Who came, sure, from a sea of light? 19 Or since those drops are all sent back 20 So sure to thee, that none doth lack, 21 Why should frail flesh doubt any more 22 That what God takes, he'll not restore? 23 O useful element and clear! 24 My sacred wash and cleanser here, 25 My first consigner unto those 26 Fountains of life where the Lamb goes! 27 What sublime truths and wholesome themes 28 Lodge in thy mystical deep streams! 29 Such as dull man can never find 30 Unless that Spirit lead his mind 31 Which first upon thy face did move, 32 And hatch'd all with his quick'ning love.
33 As this loud brook's incessant fall 34 In streaming rings restagnates all, 35 Which reach by course the bank, and then 36 Are no more seen, just so pass men.
37 O my invisible estate, 38 My glorious liberty, still late! 39 Thou art the channel my soul seeks, 40 Not this with cataracts and creeks.

Written by Henry Vaughan |

The Retreat

 this time has finished me.
I feel like the German troops whipped by snow and the communists walking bent with newspapers stuffed into worn boots.
my plight is just as terrible.
maybe more so.
victory was so close victory was there.
as she stood before my mirror younger and more beautiful than any woman I had ever known combing yards and yards of red hair as I watched her.
and when she came to bed she was more beautiful than ever and the love was very very good.
eleven months.
now she's gone gone as they go.
this time has finished me.
it's a long road back and back to where? the guy ahead of me falls.
I step over him.
did she get him too?