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By Henry Vaughan

With what deep murmurs through time’s silent stealth

Doth thy transparent, cool, and wat’ry wealth

Here flowing fall,

And chide, and call,

As if his liquid, loose retinue stay’d

Ling’ring, and were of this steep place afraid;

The common pass

Where, clear as glass,

All must descend

Not to an end,

But quicken’d by this deep and rocky grave,

Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.


Dear stream! dear bank, where often I

Have sate and pleas’d my pensive eye,

Why, since each drop of thy quick store

Runs thither whence it flow’d before,

Should poor souls fear a shade or night,

Who came, sure, from a sea of light?

Or since those drops are all sent back

So sure to thee, that none doth lack,

Why should frail flesh doubt any more

That what God takes, he’ll not restore?


O useful element and clear!

My sacred wash and cleanser here,

My first consigner unto those

Fountains of life where the Lamb goes!

What sublime truths and wholesome themes

Lodge in thy mystical deep streams!

Such as dull man can never find

Unless that Spirit lead his mind

Which first upon thy face did move,

And hatch’d all with his quick’ning love.

As this loud brook’s incessant fall

In streaming rings restagnates all,

Which reach by course the bank, and then

Are no more seen, just so pass men.

O my invisible estate,

My glorious liberty, still late!

Thou art the channel my soul seeks,

Not this with cataracts and creeks.


  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Henry Vaughan
Henry Vaughan was a Welsh metaphysical poet, author, translator and physician.  See More By This Poet

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