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Poem by Thomas Traherne


Men are not wise in their Tru Interest,
Nor in the Worth of what they long possest:
They know no more what is their Own
Than they the Valu of't have known.
They pine in Misery,
Complain of Poverty,
Reap not where they hav sown,
Griev for Felicity,
Blaspheme the Deity;
And all becaus they are not blest
With Eys to see the Worth of Things:
For did they know their Reall Interest,
No doubt they'd all be Kings.

There's not a Man but covets and desires
A Kingdom, yea a World; nay, he aspires
To all the Regions he can spy
Beyond the Hev'ns Infinity:
The World too little is
To be his Sphere of Bliss;
Eternity must be
The Object of his View
And his Possession too;
Or els Infinity's a Dream
That quickly fades away; He lovs
All Treasures; but he hates a failing Stream
That dries up as it movs.

Can Fancy make a Greater King than God?
Can Man within his Soveraign's Abode
Be dearer to himself than He
That is the Angels Deity?
Man is as wel belov'd
As they, if he improv'd
His Talent as we see
They do; and may as well
In Blessedness excell.
But Man hath lost the ancient Way,
That Road is grown into Decay;
Brambles shut up the Path, and Briars tear
Those few that pass by there.

They think no Realms nor Kingdoms theirs,
No Lands nor Houses, that have other Heirs.
But native Sense taught me more Wit,
The World did too, I may admit:
As soon as I was born
It did my Soul adorn,
And was a Benefit
That round about me lay;
And yet without Delay
'Twas seated quickly in my Mind,
Its Uses also I yet find
Mine own: for God, that All things would impart,
Center'd it in my Heart.

The World set in Man's Heart, and yet not His!
Why, all the Compass of this great Abyss,
Th' united Service and Delight,
Its Beauty that attracts the Sight,
That Goodness which I find,
Doth gratify my Mind;
The common Air and Light
That shines, doth me a Pleasure
And surely is my Treasure:
Of it I am th' inclusive Sphere,
It doth entire in me appear
As well as I in it: It givs me Room,
Yet lies within my Womb.

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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