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Short poem

Thomas Traherne (1637-1674)


              1     How like an angel came I down!
              2          How bright are all things here!
              3When first among his works I did appear
              4     O how their glory me did crown!
              5The world resembled his eternity,
              6          In which my soul did walk;
              7     And ev'ry thing that I did see
              8          Did with me talk.

              9     The skies in their magnificence,
            10          The lively, lovely air;
            11Oh how divine, how soft, how sweet, how fair!
            12     The stars did entertain my sense,
            13And all the works of God, so bright and pure,
            14          So rich and great did seem,
            15     As if they ever must endure
            16          In my esteem.

            17     A native health and innocence
            18          Within my bones did grow,
            19And while my God did all his glories show,
            20     I felt a vigour in my sense
            21That was all spirit. I within did flow
            22          With seas of life, like wine;
            23     I nothing in the world did know
            24          But 'twas divine.

            25     Harsh ragged objects were conceal'd,
            26          Oppressions tears and cries,
            27Sins, griefs, complaints, dissensions, weeping eyes
            28     Were hid, and only things reveal'd
            29Which heav'nly spirits, and the angels prize.
            30          The state of innocence
            31     And bliss, not trades and poverties,
            32          Did fill my sense.

            33     The streets were pav'd with golden stones,
            34          The boys and girls were mine,
            35Oh how did all their lovely faces shine!
            36     The sons of men were holy ones,
            37In joy and beauty they appear'd to me,
            38          And every thing which here I found,
            39     While like an angel I did see,
            40          Adorn'd the ground.

            41     Rich diamond and pearl and gold
            42          In ev'ry place was seen;
            43Rare splendours, yellow, blue, red, white and green,
            44     Mine eyes did everywhere behold.
            45Great wonders cloth'd with glory did appear,
            46          Amazement was my bliss,
            47     That and my wealth was ev'ry where:
            48          No joy to this!

            49     Curs'd and devis'd proprieties,
            50          With envy, avarice
            51And fraud, those fiends that spoil even Paradise,
            52     Flew from the splendour of mine eyes,
            53And so did hedges, ditches, limits, bounds,
            54          I dream'd not aught of those,
            55     But wander'd over all men's grounds,
            56          And found repose.

            57     Proprieties themselves were mine,
            58          And hedges ornaments;
            59Walls, boxes, coffers, and their rich contents
            60     Did not divide my joys, but all combine.
            61Clothes, ribbons, jewels, laces, I esteem'd
            62          My joys by others worn:
            63     For me they all to wear them seem'd
            64          When I was born.


49] proprieties: proprietorship.

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, Poetical Works, ed. Bertram Dobell (London: published by the editor, 1903). PR 3736 T7 1903 VUCR.
First publication date: 1903
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 3RP 1.373-74.
Recent editing: 2:2002/5/8

Rhyme: abbacdcd

Other poems by Thomas Traherne