Henry Vaughan is an English metaphysical poet. This short biography is a good introduction. Below is one of my favourite poems by Vaughan, The interesting life of Henry Vaughan Henry Vaughan is associated with the seventeenth-century Metaphysical Poets, but his name is not as famous or familiar as, say, Andrew Marvell or John Donne. In this post we offer a very short biography of Henry Vaughan, providing a brief introduction to his life and work – focusing on […]
Fresh fields and woods! the Earth’s fair face,
God’s foot-stool, and man’s dwelling-place.
I ask not why the first Believer
Did love to be a country liver?
Who to secure pious content
Did pitch by groves and wells his tent;
Where he might view the boundless sky,
And all those glorious lights on high;
With flying meteors, mists and show’rs,
Subjected hills, trees, meads and flow’rs;
And ev’ry minute bless the King
And wise Creator of each thing.
I ask not why he did remove
To happy Mamre’s holy grove,
Leaving the cities of the plain
To Lot and his successless train?
All various lusts in cities still
Are found; they are the thrones of ill;
The dismal sinks, where blood is spill’d,
Cages with much uncleanness fill’d.
But rural shades are the sweet fense
Of piety and innocence.
They are the Meek’s calm region, where
Angels descend and rule the sphere,
Where heaven lies leiger, and the dove
Duly as dew, comes from above.
If Eden be on Earth at all,
‘Tis that, which we the country call.
I have been reading broadly in the Spanish seventeenth-century recently- Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca. Both of them have devotional poems that would bear comparisons with Vaughan and Herbert.