Eden

Original Text: 
Thomas Traherne, Poetical Works, ed. Bertram Dobell (London: published by the editor, 1903). PR 3736 T71903 Victoria College Library
2       Divided me
3    From all the vanity,
4From all the sloth, care, pain, and sorrow that advance
5    The madness and the misery
6Of men. No error, no distraction I
7Saw soil the earth, or overcloud the sky.
8  I knew not that there was a serpent's sting,
9       Whose poison shed
10    On men, did overspread
11The world; nor did I dream of such a thing
12    As sin, in which mankind lay dead.
13They all were brisk and living wights to me,
14Yea, pure and full of immortality.
15  Joy, pleasure, beauty, kindness, glory, love,
16       Sleep, day, life, light,
17    Peace, melody, my sight,
18My ears and heart did fill and freely move.
19    All that I saw did me delight.
20The Universe was then a world of treasure,
21To me an universal world of pleasure.
22  Unwelcome penitence was then unknown,
23       Vain costly toys,
25Shops, markets, taverns, coaches, were unshown;
26    So all things were that drown'd my joys:
27No thorns chok'd up my path, nor hid the face
28Of bliss and beauty, nor eclips'd the place.
29  Only what Adam in his first estate,
30       Did I behold;
31    Hard silver and dry gold
32As yet lay under ground; my blessed fate
33    Was more acquainted with the old
34And innocent delights which he did see
35In his original simplicity.
36  Those things which first his Eden did adorn,
37       My infancy
38    Did crown. Simplicity
39Was my protection when I first was born.
40    Mine eyes those treasures first did see
41Which God first made. The first effects of love
42My first enjoyments upon earth did prove;
43  And were so great, and so divine, so pure;
44       So fair and sweet,
45    So true; when I did meet
46Them here at first, they did my soul allure,
47    And drew away my infant feet
48Quite from the works of men; that I might see
49The glorious wonders of the Deity.

Notes

1] Traherne here emphasizes the innocence of childhood rather than its "gleams of past existence", but elsewhere we have such affirmations as "My knowledge was Divine; I knew by intuition those things which since my apostacy I collected again by the highest reason" (Centuries of Meditations, 111). Back to Line
24] roaring boys: roisterers. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1903
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.474; RPO 1996-2000.
Rhyme: