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Mount of Olives

    SWEET, sacred hill ! on whose fair brow
    My Saviour sate, shall I allow
    Language to love,
    And idolize some shade, or grove,
    Neglecting thee ? such ill-plac'd wit,
    Conceit, or call it what you please,
    Is the brain's fit,
    And mere disease.

    Cotswold and Cooper's both have met
    With learnèd swains, and echo yet
    Their pipes and wit ;
    But thou sleep'st in a deep neglect,
    Untouch'd by any ; and what need
    The sheep bleat thee a silly lay,
    That heard'st both reed
    And sheepward play ?

    Yet if poets mind thee well,
    They shall find thou art their hill,
    And fountain too.
    Their Lord with thee had most to do ;
    He wept once, walk'd whole nights on thee :
    And from thence—His suff'rings ended—
    Unto glory
    Was attended.

    Being there, this spacious ball
    Is but His narrow footstool all ;
    And what we think
    Unsearchable, now with one wink
    He doth comprise ; but in this air
    When He did stay to bear our ill
    And sin, this hill
    Was then His Chair.

    Henry Vaughan

Childhood

    I CANNOT reach it; and my striving eye
    Dazzles at it, as at eternity.

    Were now that chronicle alive,
    Those white designs which children drive,
    And the thoughts of each harmless hour,
    With their content too in my pow'r,
    Quickly would I make my path even,
    And by mere playing go to heaven.

    Why should men love,
    A wolf, more than a lamb or dove?
    Or choose hell-fire and brimstone streams
    Before bright stars and God's own beams?
    Who kisseth thorns will hurt his face,
    But flowers do both refresh and grace;
    And sweetly living - fie on men! -
    Are, when dead, medicinal then;
    If seeing much should make staid eyes,
    And long experience should make wise;
    Since all that age doth teach is ill,
    Why should I not love childhood still?
    Why, if I see a rock or shelf,
    Shall I from thence cast down myself?
    Or by complying with the world,
    From the same precipice be hurled?
    Those observations are but foul,
    Which make me wise to lose my soul.

    And yet the practice worldlings call
    Business, and weighty action all,
    Checking the poor child for his play,
    But gravely cast themselves away.
    Dear, harmless age! the short, swift span
    Where weeping Virtue parts with man;
    Where love without lust dwells, and bends
    What way we please without self-ends.

    An age of mysteries! which he
    Must live that would God's face see
    Which angels guard, and with it play,
    Angels! which foul men drive away.

    How do I study now, and scan
    Thee more than e'er I studied man,
    And only see through a long night
    Thy edges and thy bordering light!
    Oh, for thy centre and midday!
    For sure that is the narrow way!

    Henry Vaughan

Come, Come-What Do I Here

    COME, come ! what do I here ?
    Since he is gone
    Each day is grown a dozen year
    And each hour, one ;
    Come, come !

    Cut off the sum :
    By these soil'd tears !
    Which only Thou
    Know'st to be true,
    Days are my fears.

    There's not a wind can stir,
    Or beam pass by,
    But straight I think, though far,
    Thy hand is nigh.
    Come, come !
    Strike these lips dumb :
    This restless breath,
    That soils Thy name,
    Will ne'er be tame
    Until in death.

    Perhaps some think a tomb
    No house of store,
    But a dark and seal'd up womb,
    Which ne'er breeds more.
    Come, come !
    Such thoughts benumb :
    But I would be
    With him I weep
    Abed, and sleep,
    To wake in Thee.

    Henry Vaughan


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