Jones Very was an American essayist, poet, clergymen, and mystic associated with the American Transcendentalism movement. He was known as a scholar of William Shakespeare and many of his poems were Shakespearean sonnets. He was well-known and respected amongst the Transcendentalists, though he had a mental breakdown early in his career.
Born in Salem, Massachusetts to two unwed first cousins, Jones Very became associated with Harvard University, first as an undergraduate, then as a student in the Harvard Divinity School and as a tutor of Greek. He heavily studied epic poetry and was invited to lecture on the topic in his home town, which drew the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson. ... more »
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Jones Very Poems
I looked to find a man who walked with God, Like the translated patriarch of old;-- Though gladdened millions on His footstool trod, Yet none with him did such sweet converse hold;
IT is not life upon Thy gifts to live, But, to grow fixed with deeper roots in Thee; And when the sun and shower their bounties give, To send out thick-leaved limbs; a fruitful tree,
The bubbling brook doth leap when I come by, Because my feet find measure with its call; The birds know when the friend they love is nigh, For I am known to them, both great and small.
Thy Better Self
I AM thy other self, what thou wilt be, When thou art I, the one seest now; In finding thy true self thou wilt find me, The springing blade, where now thou dost but plough.
I see them crowd on crowd they walk the earth Dry, leafless trees no Autumn wind laid bare, And in their nakedness find cause for mirth, And all unclad would winter's rudeness dare;
The bush that has most briers and bitter fruit Waits till the frost has turned its green leaves red, Its sweetened berries will thy palate suit,
I Was Sick And In Prison
Thou hast not left the rough-barked tree to grow Without a mate upon the river's bank; Nor dost Thou on one flower the rain bestow,
How many of the body's health complain, When they some deeper malady conceal; Some unrest of the soul, some secret pain,
I asked of Time to tell me where was Love; He pointed to her foot-steps on the snow, Where first the angel lighted from above,
He Gave Me No Meat
My brother, I am hungry,—give me food Such as my Father gives me at his board; He has for many years been to thee good,
I SAW a worm, with many a fold; It spun itself a sliken tomb; And there in winter time enrolled, It heeded not the cold or gloom.
There is no faith; the mountain stands within Still unrebuked, its summit reaches heaven; And every action adds its load of sin,
Thou tellest truths unspoken yet by man By this thy lonely home and modest look; For he has not the eyes such truths to scan,
The New Birth
a new life;--thoughts move not as they did With slow uncertain steps across my mind, In thronging haste fast pressing on they bid The portals open to the viewless wind
Comments about Jones Very
I looked to find a man who walked with God,
Like the translated patriarch of old;--
Though gladdened millions on His footstool trod,
Yet none with him did such sweet converse hold;
I heard the wind in low complaint go by
That none his melodies like him could hear;
Day unto day spoke wisdom from on high,
Yet none like David turned a willing ear;
God walked alone unhonored through the earth;
For Him no heart-built temple open stood,
The soul forgetful of her nobler birth
Had hewn him lofty shrines of stone and wood,
And left unfinished and in ruins...