The Water-fall

Original Text: 
Henry Vaughan, Silex Scintillans (1650). Scolar Press, 1970. PR 3669 R2 1680AC ROBA.
1With what deep murmurs through time's silent stealth
2Doth thy transparent, cool, and wat'ry wealth
3     Here flowing fall,
4     And chide, and call,
5As if his liquid, loose retinue stay'd
6Ling'ring, and were of this steep place afraid;
7     The common pass
8     Where, clear as glass,
9     All must descend
10     Not to an end,
11But quicken'd by this deep and rocky grave,
13     Dear stream! dear bank, where often I
14     Have sate and pleas'd my pensive eye,
15     Why, since each drop of thy quick store
16     Runs thither whence it flow'd before,
17     Should poor souls fear a shade or night,
19     Or since those drops are all sent back
20     So sure to thee, that none doth lack,
21     Why should frail flesh doubt any more
22     That what God takes, he'll not restore?
23     O useful element and clear!
24     My sacred wash and cleanser here,
25     My first consigner unto those
27     What sublime truths and wholesome themes
28     Lodge in thy mystical deep streams!
29     Such as dull man can never find
30     Unless that Spirit lead his mind
33     As this loud brook's incessant fall
34     In streaming rings restagnates all,
35     Which reach by course the bank, and then
36     Are no more seen, just so pass men.
37     O my invisible estate,
38     My glorious liberty, still late!
39     Thou art the channel my soul seeks,
40     Not this with cataracts and creeks.


12] brave: splendid. Back to Line
18] sea of light: the soul's origin. Back to Line
26] Revelation 7:17. Back to Line
31] Genesis 1:2. Back to Line
32] hatch'd: the symbolic Dove. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.368-89.