Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Beyond the Veil
By Henry Vaughan (1621–1695)
 
THEY are all gone into the world of light!
    And I alone sit lingering here;
Their very memory is fair and bright,
    And my sad thoughts doth clear.
 
It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,        5
    Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest,
    After the sun’s remove.
 
I see them walking in an air of glory,
    Whose light doth trample on my days:        10
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
    Mere glimmering and decays.
 
O holy Hope! and high Humility,
    High as the heavens above!
These are your walks, and you have shew’d them me,        15
    To kindle my cold love.
 
Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of the just,
    Shining no where, but in the dark;
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust;
    Could man outlook that mark!        20
 
He that hath found some fledg’d birds’ nest, may know
    At first sight, if the bird be flown;
But what fair well or grove he sings in now,
    That is to him unknown.
 
And yet as angels in some brighter dreams        25
    Call to the soul, when man doth sleep:
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes
    And into glory peep.
 
If a star were confin’d into a tomb,
    The captive flames must needs burn there;        30
But when the hand that lock’d her up, gives room,
    She ’ll shine through all the sphere.
 
O Father of eternal life, and all
    Created glories under Thee!
Resume thy spirit from this world of thrall        35
    Into true liberty.
 
Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
    My perspective—still—as they pass:
Or else remove me hence unto that hill,
    Where I shall need no glass.        40
 
 
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