William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Restoration Verse. 1910. The Salutation
By Thomas Traherne (1637?1674)
T HESE 1 little limbs,
These eyes and hands which here I find,
These rosy cheeks wherewith my life begins,
Where have ye been? behind
What curtain were ye from me hid so long, 5
Where was, in what abyss, my speaking tongue?
When silent I
So many thousand, thousand years
Beneath the dust did in a chaos lie,
How could I smiles or tears, 10
Or lips or hands or eyes or ears perceive?
Welcome ye treasures which I now receive.
I that so long
Was nothing from eternity,
Did little think such joys as ear or tongue 15
To celebrate or see:
Such sounds to hear, such hands to feel, such feet,
Beneath the skies on such a ground to meet.
New burnisht joys!
Which yellow gold and pearl excel! 20
Such sacred treasures are the limbs in boys,
In which a soul doth dwell;
Their organised joints and azure veins
More wealth include than all the world contains.
From dust I rise, 25
And out of nothing now awake,
These brither regions which salute mine eyes,
A gift from God I take.
The earth, the seas, the light, the day, the skies,
The sun and stars are mine: if those I prize. 30
Long time before
I in my mothers womb was born,
A God preparing did this glorious store,
The world for me adorne.
Into this Eden so divine and fair, 35
So wide and bright, I come His son and heir.
A stranger here
Strange things doth meet, strange glories see;
Strange treasures lodged in this fair world appear,
Strange all and new to me; 40
But that they mine should be, who nothing was, That strangest is of all, yet brought to pass.
The selections from Thomas Traherne in this anthology are from Note 1. The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne now first Published from Original Manuscripts, edited and published by Mr. Bertram Dobell, at 77 Charing Cross Road, W. C., London, 1903. I have expressly stated my obligation to Mr. Dobell in the Preface, for the kind privilege of using these poems. [ back]