The Water-Fall

Henry Vaughan 1621 (Brecknockshire) – 1695

1 With what deep murmurs through time's silent stealth
2 Doth thy transparent, cool, and wat'ry wealth
3 Here flowing fall,
4 And chide, and call,
5 As if his liquid, loose retinue stay'd
6 Ling'ring, and were of this steep place afraid;
7 The common pass
8 Where, clear as glass,
9 All must descend
10 Not to an end,
11 But quicken'd by this deep and rocky grave,
12 Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.

13 Dear stream! dear bank, where often I
14 Have sate and pleas'd my pensive eye,
15 Why, since each drop of thy quick store
16 Runs thither whence it flow'd before,
17 Should poor souls fear a shade or night,
18 Who came, sure, from a sea of light?
19 Or since those drops are all sent back
20 So sure to thee, that none doth lack,
21 Why should frail flesh doubt any more
22 That what God takes, he'll not restore?

23 O useful element and clear!
24 My sacred wash and cleanser here,
25 My first consigner unto those
26 Fountains of life where the Lamb goes!
27 What sublime truths and wholesome themes
28 Lodge in thy mystical deep streams!
29 Such as dull man can never find
30 Unless that Spirit lead his mind
31 Which first upon thy face did move,
32 And hatch'd all with his quick'ning love.
33 As this loud brook's incessant fall
34 In streaming rings restagnates all,
35 Which reach by course the bank, and then
36 Are no more seen, just so pass men.
37 O my invisible estate,
38 My glorious liberty, still late!
39 Thou art the channel my soul seeks,
40 Not this with cataracts and creeks.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Henry Vaughan

Henry Vaughan was a Welsh author, physician and metaphysical poet. Vaughan and his twin brother, the hermetic philosopher and alchemist Thomas Vaughan, were the sons of Thomas Vaughan and his wife Denise of 'Trenewydd', Newton, in Brecknockshire, Wales. Their grandfather, William, was the owner of Tretower Court. Vaughan spent most of his life in the village of Llansantffraed, near Brecon, where he is also buried. more…

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