Verse > Anthologies > Henry Charles Beeching, ed. > Lyra Sacra
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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919).  Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse.  1903.
 
Etenim Res Creatæ Exerto Capite Observantes Expectant Revelationem Filiorum Dei
By Henry Vaughan (1622–1695)
 
AND 1 do they so? have they a sense
            Of ought but influence?
Can they their heads lift, and expect,
            And groan too? why, th’ elect
Can do no more: my volumes said        5
            They were all dull and dead;
They judged them senseless, and their state
            Wholly inanimate.
            Go, go; seal up thy looks,
              And burn thy books.        10
 
I would I were a stone, or tree,
            Or flow’r by pedigree,
Or some poor highway herb, or spring
            To flow, or bird to sing!
Then should I, tied to one sure state,        15
            All day expect my date.
But I am sadly loose, and stray
            A giddy blast each way;
            O let me not thus range!
              Thou canst not change.        20
 
Sometimes I sit with Thee, and tarry
            An hour or so, then vary.
Thy other creatures in this scene
            Thee only aim and mean;
Some rise to seek Thee, and with heads        25
            Erect peep from their beds;
Others, whose birth is in the tomb,
            And cannot quit the womb,
            Sigh there, and groan for Thee,
              Their liberty.        30
 
O let not me do less! shall they
            Watch, while I sleep or play?
Shall I Thy mercies still abuse
            With fancies, friends, or news?
O brook it not! Thy blood is mine,        35
            And my soul should be Thine;
O brook it not! why wilt Thou stop
            After whole show’rs one drop?
            Sure Thou wilt joy to see
              Thy sheep with Thee.        40
 
Note 1. The title of this poem seems to be Vaughan’s own version of Romans viii. 19, the words exerto capite, “with head outstretched,” having no parallel in the Vulgate version or Beza’s. [back]
 
 
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