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Thomas Traherne (1637-1674)

A Serious and Pathetical Contemplation of the Mercies of God


For all the mysteries, engines, instruments, wherewith the world is filled, which we are able to frame and use to thy glory.

For all the trades, variety of operations, cities, temples, streets, bridges, mariner's compass, admirable picture, sculpture, writing, printing, songs and music; wherewith the world is beautified and adorned.

              1     Much more for the regent life,
              2          And power of perception,
              3               Which rules within.
              4     That secret depth of fathomless consideration
              5          That receives the information
              6               Of all our senses,
              7     That makes our centre equal to the heavens,
              8          And comprehendeth in itself the magnitude of the world;
              9               The involv'd mysteries
            10                    Of our common sense;
            11               The inaccessible secret
            12                    Of perceptive fancy;
            13               The repository and treasury
            14                    Of things that are past;
            15               The presentation of things to come;
            16                    Thy name be glorified
            17                    For evermore.

....

            18                    O miracle
            19                         Of divine goodness!
            20               O fire! O flame of zeal, and love, and joy!
            21          Ev'n for our earthly bodies, hast thou created all things.
            22                                 { visible
            23          All things   { material
            24                                 { sensible
            25               Animals,
            26               Vegetables,
            27               Minerals,
            28          Bodies celestial,
            29          Bodies terrestrial,
            30          The four elements,
            31          Volatile spirits,
            32     Trees, herbs, and flowers,
            33          The influences of heaven,
            34     Clouds, vapors, wind,
            35          Dew, rain, hail and snow,
            36     Light and darkness, night and day,
            37          The seasons of the year.
            38Springs, rivers, fountains, oceans,
            39     Gold, silver, and precious stones.
            40          Corn, wine, and oil,
            41     The sun, moon, and stars,
            42          Cities, nations, kingdoms.
            43And the bodies of men, the greatest treasures of all,
            44          For each other.
            45What then, O Lord, hast thou intended for our
            46Souls, who givest to our bodies such glorious things!

Notes

1] Pathetical: vehement, full of passion.

6] regent: ruling, governing.

15] common sense: senses that are common to man.

17] perceptive fancy: imagination.


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, A Serious and Pathetical Contemplation of the Mercies of God, in Several Most Devout and Sublime Thanksgivings for the Same (1699).
First publication date: 1699
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 3RP 1.377-78.
Recent editing: 2:2002/5/8

Rhyme: unrhymed


Other poems by Thomas Traherne