I Walk'd the Other Day

Original Text: 
Henry Vaughan, Silex Scintillans (1650; facs. edn., Scolar Press, 1970). PR 3669 R2 1680AC Robarts Library
1I walk'd the other day, to spend my hour,
2     Into a field,
3Where I sometimes had seen the soil to yield
4     A gallant flow'r;
5But winter now had ruffled all the bow'r
6     And curious store
7     I knew there heretofore.
8Yet I, whose search lov'd not to peep and peer
9     I' th' face of things,
10Thought with my self, there might be other springs
11     Besides this here,
12Which, like cold friends, sees us but once a year;
13     And so the flow'r
14     Might have some other bow'r.
15Then taking up what I could nearest spy,
16     I digg'd about
17That place where I had seen him to grow out;
18     And by and by
19I saw the warm recluse alone to lie,
20     Where fresh and green
21     He liv'd of us unseen.
22Many a question intricate and rare
23     Did I there strow;
24But all I could extort was, that he now
25     Did there repair
26Such losses as befell him in this air,
27     And would ere long
28     Come forth most fair and young.
29This past, I threw the clothes quite o'er his head;
30     And stung with fear
31Of my own frailty dropp'd down many a tear
32     Upon his bed;
33Then sighing whisper'd, "happy are the dead!
34     What peace doth now
35     Rock him asleep below!"
36And yet, how few believe such doctrine springs
37     From a poor root,
38Which all the winter sleeps here under foot,
39     And hath no wings
40To raise it to the truth and light of things;
41     But is still trod
42     By ev'ry wand'ring clod.
43O Thou! whose spirit did at first inflame
44     And warm the dead,
46     With life this frame,
47Which once had neither being, form, nor name;
48     Grant I may so
49     Thy steps track here below,
50That in these masques and shadows I may see
51     Thy sacred way;
52And by those hid ascents climb to that day,
53     Which breaks from Thee,
54Who art in all things, though invisibly!
55     Shew me thy peace,
56     Thy mercy, love, and ease,
57And from this care, where dreams and sorrows reign,
58     Lead me above,
59Where light, joy, leisure, and true comforts move
60     Without all pain;
61There, hid in thee, shew me his life again,
62     At whose dumb urn
63     Thus all the year I mourn.


45] incubation: refers to the brooding of the Holy Spirit at Creation; cf. Gen. i.2. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.469; RPO 1996-2000.