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Poem by Thomas Traherne

The Anticipation

My contemplation dazzles in the End  
 Of all I comprehend,  
 And soars above all heights,  
Diving into the depths of all delights.  
 Can He become the End,
 To whom all creatures tend,  
Who is the Father of all Infinites?  
Then may He benefit receive from things,  
And be not Parent only of all springs.  
The End doth want the means, and is the cause,
 Whose sake, by Natureâs laws,  
 Is that for which they are.  
Such sands, such dangerous rocks we must beware:  
 From all Eternity  
 A perfect Deity
Most great and blessed He doth still appear:  
His essence perfect was in all its features,  
He ever blessed in His joys and creatures.  
From everlasting He those joys did need,  
 And all those joys proceed
 From Him eternally.  
From everlasting His felicity  
 Complete and perfect was,  
 Whose bosom is the glass,  
Wherein we all things everlasting see.
His name is Now, His Nature is For-ever:  
None can His creatures from their Maker sever.  
The End in Him from everlasting is  
 The fountain of all bliss:  
 From everlasting it
Efficient was, and influence did emit,  
 That caused all. Before  
 The world, we do adore  
This glorious End. Because all benefit  
From it proceeds: both are the very same,
The End and Fountain differ but in Name.  
That so the End should be the very Spring  
 Of every glorious thing;  
 And that which seemeth last,  
The fountain and the cause; attained so fast
 That it was first; and movâd  
 The Efficient, who so lovâd  
All worlds and made them for the sake of this;  
It shews the End complete before, and is  
A perfect token of His perfect bliss.
The End complete, the means must needs be so,  
 By which we plainly know,  
 From all Eternity  
The means whereby God is, must perfect be.  
 God is Himself the means
 Whereby He doth exist:  
And as the Sun by shiningâs clothâd with beams,  
So from Himself to all His glory streams,  
Who is a Sun, yet what Himself doth list.  
His endless wants and His enjoyments be
 From all Eternity  
 Immutable in Him:  
They are His joys before the Cherubim.  
 His wants appreciate all,  
 And being infinite,
Permit no being to be mean or small  
That He enjoys, or is before His sight.  
His satisfactions do His wants delight.  
Wants are the fountains of Felicity;  
 No joy could ever be  
 Were there no want. No bliss,  
No sweetness perfect, were it not for this.  
 Want is the greatest pleasure  
 Because it makes all treasure.  
O what a wonderful profound abyss
Is God! In whom eternal wants and treasures  
Are more delightful since they both are pleasures.  
He infinitely wanteth all His joys;  
 (No want the soul eâer cloys.)  
 And all those wanted pleasures
He infinitely hath. What endless measures,  
 What heights and depths may we  
 In His felicity  
Conceive! Whose very wants are endless pleasures.  
His life in wants and joys is infinite,
And both are felt as His Supreme Delight.  
Heâs not like us; possession doth not cloy,  
 Nor sense of want destroy;  
 Both always are together;  
No force can either from the other sever.
 Yet thereâs a space between  
 Thatâs endless. Both are seen  
Distinctly still, and both are seen for ever.  
As soon as eâer He wanteth all His bliss,  
His bliss, thoâ everlasting, in Him is.  
His Essence is all Act: He did that He  
 All Act might always be.  
 His nature burns like fire;  
His goodness infinitely does desire  
 To be by all possesst;
 His love makes others blest.  
It is the glory of His high estate,  
And that which I for evermore admire,  
He is an Act that doth communicate.  
From all to all Eternity He is
 That Act: an Act of bliss:  
 Wherein all bliss to all  
That will receive the same, or on Him call,  
 Is freely given: from whence  
 âTis easy even to sense
To apprehend that all receivers are  
In Him, all gifts, all joys, all eyes, even all  
At once, that ever will or shall appear.  
He is the means of them, they not of Him.  
 The Holy Cherubim,
 Souls, Angels from Him came  
Who is a glorious bright and living Flame,  
 That on all things doth shine,  
 And makes their face divine.  
And Holy, Holy, Holy is His Name:  
He is the means both of Himself and all,  
Whom we the Fountain, Means, and End do call.

Thomas Traherne

Thomas Traherne's other poems:
  1. Shadows in the Water
  2. To the Same Purpose
  3. Sin
  4. Walking
  5. The Recovery

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