Human Pages

Penguin RenaissanceHere are a few pieces from seventeenth-century poet Henry Vaughan. Going through The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse, the usual names stuck out, but Vaughan seemed to run past most of them.

Trying to place him, he strikes me very nearly as a forerunner of William Blake in the visionary quality of his unexpected rhythms. I’ve seen him placed a distance second behind folks like George Herbert, but Vaughan’s lines, seemingly on the verge of being unwieldy, strike me for that risk as being more powerful, and personal.I wonder if anyone else will feel the same?

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
    All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
    Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world
    And all her train…

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