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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Retirement
By Henry Vaughan (1621–1695)
 
FRESH fields and woods! the earth’s fair face!
God’s footstool! and man’s dwelling-place!
I ask not why the first believer
Did love to be a country liver,
Who to secure pious content        5
Did pitch by groves and wells his tent,
Where he might view the boundless skie,
And all these glorious lights on high,
With flying meteors, mists and showers,
Subjected hills, trees, meads, and flowers,        10
And every minute bless the King
And wise Creator of each thing.
I ask not why he did remove
To happy Mamre’s holy grove,
Leaving the cities of the plain        15
To Lot and his successless train.
All various lusts in cities still
Are found: they are the thrones of ill;
The dismal sinks where blood is spilled,
Cages with much uncleanness filled.        20
But rural shades are the sweet sense
Of piety and innocence:
They are the meek’s calm region, where
Angels descend and rule the sphære;
Where heaven lies leaguer, and the Dove        25
Duely as dew comes from above.
If Eden be on earth at all,
’Tis that which we the country call.
 
 
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