Verse > Anthologies > Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. > Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th c.
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Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. (1886–1960). Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th C.  1921.
 
Henry Vaughan
 
106. The Retreate
 
HAPPY those early dayes! when I 
Shin'd in my Angell-infancy. 
Before I understood this place 
Appointed for my second race, 
Or taught my soul to fancy ought         5
But a white, Celestiall thought, 
When yet I had not walkt above 
A mile, or two, from my first love, 
And looking back (at that short space,) 
Could see a glimpse of his bright-face;  10
When on some gilded Cloud, or flowre 
My gazing soul would dwell an houre, 
And in those weaker glories spy 
Some shadows of eternity; 
Before I taught my tongue to wound  15
My Conscience with a sinfull sound, 
Or had the black art to dispence 
A sev'rall sinne to ev'ry sence, 
But felt through all this fleshly dresse 
Bright shootes of everlastingnesse.  20
  O how I long to travell back 
And tread again that ancient track! 
That I might once more reach that plaine, 
Where first I left my glorious traine, 
From whence th' Inlightned spirit sees  25
That shady City of Palme trees; 
But (ah!) my soul with too much stay 
Is drunk, and staggers in the way. 
Some men a forward motion love, 
But I by backward steps would move,  30
And when this dust falls to the urn 
In that state I came return. 
 
 
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