Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
The Preparative
By Thomas Traherne (1637?–1674)
 
MY body being dead, my limbs unknown;
    Before I skill’d to prize
    Those living stars mine eyes,
Before my tongue or cheeks were to me shown,
  Before I knew my hands were mine,        5
Or that my sinews did my members join,
  When neither nostril, foot nor ear
As yet was seen, or felt, or did appear:
      I was within
A house I knew not, newly cloth’d with skin.        10
 
Then was my soul my only all to me,
    A living endless eye,
    Just bounded with the sky.
Whose power, whose act, whose essence, was to see:
  I was an inward Sphere of Light,        15
Or an interminable Orb of Sight,
  An endless and a living day,
A vital Sun that round about did ray
      All life, all sense,
A naked simple pure Intelligence.        20
 
I then no thirst nor hunger did perceive,
    No dull necessity,
    No want was known to me;
Without disturbance then I did receive
  The fair ideas of all things,        25
And had the honey even without the stings.
  A meditating inward eye
Gazing at quiet did within me lie,
      And every thing
Delighted me that was their heavenly King.        30
 
For sight inherits beauty, hearing sounds,
    The nostril sweet perfumes,
    All tastes have hidden rooms
Within the tongue: and feeling feeling wounds
  With pleasure and delight; but I        35
Forgot the rest, and was all sight or eye:
  Unbodied and devoid of care,
Just as in Heaven the holy Angels are,
      For simple sense
Is Lord of all created excellence.        40
 
Being thus prepared for all felicity,
      Not prepossest with dross,
      Nor stiffly glued to gross
And dull materials that might ruin me,
  Nor fretted by an iron fate        45
With vain affections in my earthly state
  To any thing that might seduce
My sense, or else bereave it of its use,
      I was as free
As if there were nor sin, nor misery.        50
 
Pure empty powers that did nothing loath,
      Did like the fairest glass,
      Or spotless polished brass,
Themselves soon in their object’s image clothe.
  Divine impressions when they came        55
Did quickly enter and my soul inflame.
  ’Tis not the object, but the light
That maketh Heaven: ’tis a purer sight.
        Felicity
Appears to none but them that purely see.        60
 
A disentangled and a naked sense,
      A mind that’s unpossest,
      A disengaged breast,
An empty and a quick intelligence
  Acquainted with the golden mean,        65
An even spirit pure and serene,
  Is that where beauty, excellence,
And pleasure keep their Court of Residence.
        My soul retire,
Get free, and so thou shalt even all admire.        70
 
 
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