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Short poem

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: 1910
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 3RP 1.374-76.
Recent editing: 2:2002/5/8

Rhyme: ababccddbbefef

Other poems by Thomas Traherne