Henry Vaughan

(1621 - 23 April 1695 / Brecknockshire, Wales)

I Walk'd the Other Day


1 I walk'd the other day, to spend my hour,
2 Into a field,
3 Where I sometimes had seen the soil to yield
4 A gallant flow'r;
5 But winter now had ruffled all the bow'r
6 And curious store
7 I knew there heretofore.

8 Yet I, whose search lov'd not to peep and peer
9 I' th' face of things,
10 Thought with my self, there might be other springs
11 Besides this here,
12 Which, like cold friends, sees us but once a year;
13 And so the flow'r
14 Might have some other bow'r.

15 Then taking up what I could nearest spy,
16 I digg'd about
17 That place where I had seen him to grow out;
18 And by and by
19 I saw the warm recluse alone to lie,
20 Where fresh and green
21 He liv'd of us unseen.

22 Many a question intricate and rare
23 Did I there strow;
24 But all I could extort was, that he now
25 Did there repair
26 Such losses as befell him in this air,
27 And would ere long
28 Come forth most fair and young.

29 This past, I threw the clothes quite o'er his head;
30 And stung with fear
31 Of my own frailty dropp'd down many a tear
32 Upon his bed;
33 Then sighing whisper'd, "happy are the dead!
34 What peace doth now
35 Rock him asleep below!"

36 And yet, how few believe such doctrine springs
37 From a poor root,
38 Which all the winter sleeps here under foot,
39 And hath no wings
40 To raise it to the truth and light of things;
41 But is still trod
42 By ev'ry wand'ring clod.

43 O Thou! whose spirit did at first inflame
44 And warm the dead,
45 And by a sacred incubation fed
46 With life this frame,
47 Which once had neither being, form, nor name;
48 Grant I may so
49 Thy steps track here below,

50 That in these masques and shadows I may see
51 Thy sacred way;
52 And by those hid ascents climb to that day,
53 Which breaks from Thee,
54 Who art in all things, though invisibly!
55 Shew me thy peace,
56 Thy mercy, love, and ease,

57 And from this care, where dreams and sorrows reign,
58 Lead me above,
59 Where light, joy, leisure, and true comforts move
60 Without all pain;
61 There, hid in thee, shew me his life again,
62 At whose dumb urn
63 Thus all the year I mourn.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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