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Poem by Thomas Traherne

On Leaping Over the Moon

I saw new worlds beneath the water lie,
New people; ye, another sky
And sun, which seen by day
Might things more clear display.
Just such another
Of late my brother
Did in his travel see, and saw by night
A much more strange and wondrous sight;
Nor could the world exhibit such another
So great a sight but in a brother.

Adventure strange! No such in story we
New or old, true or feigned, see.
On earth he seemed to move,
Yet heaven went above;
Up in the skies
His body flies
In open, visible, yet magic, sort;
As he along the way did sport,
Over the flood he takes his nimble course
Without the help of feigned horse.

As he went tripping o'er the king's highway,
A little pearly river lay,
O'er which, he dared to swim,
Swim through the air
On body fair;
He would not trust Icarian wings,
Lest they should prove deceitful things;
For had he fall'n, it had been wondrous high,
Not from, but from above, the sky.

He might have dropped through that thin element
Into a fathomless descent;
Unto the nether sky
That did beneath him lie,
And there might tell
What wonders dwell
On earth above. Yet doth he briskly run,
And, bold, the danger overcome;
Who, as he leapt, with joy related soon
How happy he o'erleapt the moon.

What wondrous things upon the earth are done
Beneath, and yet above, the sun!
Deeds all appear again
In higher spheres; remain
In clouds as yet,
But there they get
Another light, and in another way
Themselves to us
The skies themselves this earthly globe surround;
We're even here within them found.

On heav'nly ground within the skies we walk,
And in this middle center talk:
Did we but wisely move,
On earth in heav'n above,
Then soon should we
Exalted be
Above the sky; from whence whoever falls,
Through a long dismal precipice
Sinks to the deep abyss where Satan crawls,
Where horrid death and despair lies.

As much as others thought themselves to lie
Beneath the moon, so much more high
Himself he thought to fly
Above the starry sky,
he spied
Below the tide.

Thus did he yield me in the shady night
A wondrous and instructive light,
Which taught me that under our feet there is,
As o'er our heads, a place of bliss.

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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