Thomas Traherne (1637-1674)
1 News from a foreign country came,
2As if my treasures and my joys lay there;
3 So much it did my heart inflame,
4'Twas wont to call my soul into mine ear;
5 Which thither went to meet
6 Th' approaching sweet,
7 And on the threshold stood
8 To entertain the secret good;
9 It hover'd there
10 As if 'twould leave mine ear,
11 And was so eager to embrace
12 Th' expected tidings as they came,
13 That it could change its dwelling place
14 To meet the voice of fame.
15 As if new tidings were the things
16Which did comprise my wished unknown treasure,
17 Or else did bear them on their wings,
18With so much joy they came, with so much pleasure,
19 My soul stood at the gate
20 To recreate
21 Itself with bliss, and woo
22 Its speedier approach; a fuller view
23 It fain would take,
24 Yet journeys back would make
25 Unto my heart, as if 'twould fain
26 Go out to meet, yet stay within,
27 Fitting a place to entertain
28 And bring the tidings in.
29 What sacred instinct did inspire
30My soul in childhood with an hope so strong?
31 What secret force mov'd my desire
32T' expect my joys beyond the seas, so young?
33 Felicity I knew
34 Was out of view;
35 And being left alone,
36 I thought all happiness was gone
37 From earth; for this
38 I long'd for absent bliss,
39 Deeming that sure beyond the seas,
40 Or else in something near at hand
41 Which I knew not, since nought did please
42 I knew, my bliss did stand.
43 But little did the infant dream
44That all the treasures of the world were by,
45 And that himself was so the cream
46And crown of all which round about did lie.
47 Yet thus it was! The gem,
48 The diadem,
49 The ring enclosing all
50 That stood upon this earthen ball;
51 The heav'nly eye,
52 Much wider than the sky,
53 Wherein they all included were;
54 The love, the soul, that was the king
55 Made to possess them, did appear
56 A very little thing.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Thomas Traherne, Poems of Felicity, ed. H. J. Bell (Clarendon Press, 1910). PR 3736 T7A6 1910 ROBA.
First publication date:
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 3RP 1.374-76.
Recent editing: 2:2002/5/8
Other poems by Thomas Traherne