Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 48. The Anticipation
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
48. The Anticipation
By Thomas Traherne  (?1636–1674)
MY contemplation dazzles in the End
  Of all I comprehend,
  And soars above all heights,
Diving into the depths of all delights.
  Can He become the End,        5
  To whom all creatures tend,
Who is the Father of all Infinites?
Then may He benefit receive from things,
And be not Parent only of all springs.
The End doth want the means, and is the cause,       10
  Whose sake, by Nature’s laws,
  Is that for which they are.
Such sands, such dangerous rocks we must beware:
  From all Eternity
  A perfect Deity       15
Most great and blessed He doth still appear:
His essence perfect was in all its features,
He ever blessed in His joys and creatures.
From everlasting He those joys did need,
  And all those joys proceed       20
  From Him eternally.
From everlasting His felicity
  Complete and perfect was,
  Whose bosom is the glass,
Wherein we all things everlasting see.       25
His name is Now, His Nature is For-ever:
None can His creatures from their Maker sever.
The End in Him from everlasting is
  The fountain of all bliss:
  From everlasting it       30
Efficient was, and influence did emit,
  That caused all. Before
  The world, we do adore
This glorious End. Because all benefit
From it proceeds: both are the very same,       35
The End and Fountain differ but in Name.
That so the End should be the very Spring
  Of every glorious thing;
  And that which seemeth last,
The fountain and the cause; attained so fast       40
  That it was first; and mov’d
  The Efficient, who so lov’d
All worlds and made them for the sake of this;
It shews the End complete before, and is
A perfect token of His perfect bliss.       45
The End complete, the means must needs be so,
  By which we plainly know,
  From all Eternity
The means whereby God is, must perfect be.
  God is Himself the means       50
  Whereby He doth exist:
And as the Sun by shining’s cloth’d with beams,
So from Himself to all His glory streams,
Who is a Sun, yet what Himself doth list.
His endless wants and His enjoyments be       55
  From all Eternity
  Immutable in Him:
They are His joys before the Cherubim.
  His wants appreciate all,
  And being infinite,       60
Permit no being to be mean or small
That He enjoys, or is before His sight.
His satisfactions do His wants delight.
Wants are the fountains of Felicity;
  No joy could ever be       65
  Were there no want. No bliss,
No sweetness perfect, were it not for this.
  Want is the greatest pleasure
  Because it makes all treasure.
O what a wonderful profound abyss       70
Is God! In whom eternal wants and treasures
Are more delightful since they both are pleasures.
He infinitely wanteth all His joys;
  (No want the soul e’er cloys.)
  And all those wanted pleasures       75
He infinitely hath. What endless measures,
  What heights and depths may we
  In His felicity
Conceive! Whose very wants are endless pleasures.
His life in wants and joys is infinite,       80
And both are felt as His Supreme Delight.
He’s not like us; possession doth not cloy,
  Nor sense of want destroy;
  Both always are together;
No force can either from the other sever.       85
  Yet there’s a space between
  That’s endless. Both are seen
Distinctly still, and both are seen for ever.
As soon as e’er He wanteth all His bliss,
His bliss, tho’ everlasting, in Him is.       90
His Essence is all Act: He did that He
  All Act might always be.
  His nature burns like fire;
His goodness infinitely does desire
  To be by all possesst;       95
  His love makes others blest.
It is the glory of His high estate,
And that which I for evermore admire,
He is an Act that doth communicate.
From all to all Eternity He is      100
  That Act: an Act of bliss:
  Wherein all bliss to all
That will receive the same, or on Him call,
  Is freely given: from whence
  ’Tis easy even to sense      105
To apprehend that all receivers are
In Him, all gifts, all joys, all eyes, even all
At once, that ever will or shall appear.
He is the means of them, they not of Him.
  The Holy Cherubim,      110
  Souls, Angels from Him came
Who is a glorious bright and living Flame,
  That on all things doth shine,
  And makes their face divine.
And Holy, Holy, Holy is His Name:      115
He is the means both of Himself and all,
Whom we the Fountain, Means, and End do call



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