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Best Famous Henry Vaughan Poems

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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?

by Henry Vaughan | |

The Revival

 1 Unfold! unfold! Take in His light,
2 Who makes thy cares more short than night.
3 The joys which with His day-star rise, 4 He deals to all but drowsy eyes; 5 And (what the men of this world miss) 6 Some drops and dews of future bliss.
7 Hark! how his winds have chang'd their note, 8 And with warm whispers call thee out.
9 The frosts are past, the storms are gone, 10 And backward life at last comes on.
11 The lofty groves in express joys 12 Reply unto the turtle's voice; 13 And here in dust and dirt, O here 14 The lilies of His love appear!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.