Tuesday, 9 January 2007

I Saw Eternity.

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv'n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov'd; in which the world
And all her train were hurl'd.
The doting lover in his quaintest strain
Did there complain;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
Wit's sour delights,
With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure,
Yet his dear treasure
All scatter'd lay, while he his eyes did pour
Upon a flow'r.

The darksome statesman hung with weights and woe,
Like a thick midnight-fog mov'd there so slow,
He did not stay, nor go;
Condemning thoughts (like sad eclipses) scowl
Upon his soul,
And clouds of crying witnesses without
Pursued him with one shout.
Yet digg'd the mole, and lest his ways be found,
Work'd under ground,
Where he did clutch his prey; but one did see
That policy;
Churches and altars fed him; perjuries
Were gnats and flies;
It rain'd about him blood and tears, but he
Drank them as free.


The fearful miser on a heap of rust
Sate pining all his life there, did scarce trust
His own hands with the dust,
Yet would not place one piece above, but lives
In fear of thieves;
Thousands there were as frantic as himself,
And hugg'd each one his pelf;
The downright epicure plac'd heav'n in sense,
And scorn'd pretence,
While others, slipp'd into a wide excess,
Said little less;
The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave,
Who think them brave;
And poor despised Truth sate counting by
Their victory.


Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
And sing, and weep, soar'd up into the ring;
But most would use no wing.
O fools (said I) thus to prefer dark night
Before true light,
To live in grots and caves, and hate the day
Because it shews the way,
The way, which from this dead and dark abode
Leads up to God,
A way where you might tread the sun, and be
More bright than he.
But as I did their madness so discuss
One whisper'd thus,
"This ring the Bridegroom did for none provide,
But for his bride."

Henry Vaughan 1621-1695

8 comments:

  1. This is so luscious and complex - like the finest cabernet or a merlot - meant to be savored and sipped bit by bit......to be returned to......to hold up to light, swirl in the glass, inhale a fragrance that delights us and reminds of fears, of envy, of all that is mean and small and yet under that smokey darkness, a bright pinpoint of light.....the bride of them all.......

    rdg

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  2. yeah, i can see where you are way over my head .."irregardless" of this...the above reminds me odf a book i read a long time ago called "The Sheep Look Up" though I'm not surwe why ...
    I like your music and anyone tha will leave some verse from cap'n Beefheart on my post is welcome anytime...
    RDG where do you find these guys?

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  3. Sorry for all the typos but I'm in a bit of a rush....

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  4. Thanks, Steve.
    For the record, I've been shooting at your mailbox for a few days now, blame RDG, I stumbled upon her post, not sure by what route, and stopped to read, relax, chew a chocolate shoe... you know the sort of thing. Anyway, the poetry, it was the poetry that grabbed me, I loved the one about the absconding bicycle, living with the goats.
    So I started checking out her links.
    Poetry, I grew up with it, but I've neglected it in recent years, and now I'm finding rich veins of it.
    I like that I'm finding writing by real people, not filtered by publishers and commercial concerns.
    "In one of the backrooms of the church, she helped me disrobe.
    “You were just wonderful’ as she took my crook and Turban." What a great line!
    So, I'd better apologise for the 'irregardless' crack, -I don't have, as they say, a mean bone in my body. If I say something mean I instantly feel ashamed.
    Somehow I grew up with a built-in spell and grammar check.
    I still get it wrong myself, but misspelt words and rogue apostrophes leap out of the page at me. Though sometimes I gaze at something I've written, and it looks wrong, but I just can't see where it is.
    And sometimes my fumblefingers make auto-anagrams.
    And I can't be brief and to the point. Ever.
    Now I need to google 'The sheep look up' I can see it in my mind, sheep gazing upwards....
    I have a vid clip in mind.... parachuting bear. no sheep... I'll see if Youtube has it.
    Welcome, anyway. I'm not sure what I'm doing or why, so any constuctive criticism is heartily appreciated.

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  5. I thought the sheep sounded familiar. John Brunner. 1972. I've probably read it but can't remember it. Somewhere on my bookshelves, or in a heap, somewhere.. are a couple or three of his books.
    One I particularly liked was 'The Shockwave Rider'
    In 1975 Brunner was writing of a man who erased his tracks in the government computers by writing computer code, to create what he calls 'tapeworms', which swim in the data in the computer, looking for and deleting any mention of him or his movements. Any attempt to tamper with (or erase), a worm turns it virulent, wreaking disproportionate revenge, havoc, as it erases vital government files and systems.
    1975. Long before we had any real idea of what computers would one day mean. Long before hackers and viruses, trojans and worms.
    That book's here somewhere but there are a couple of thousand others in this room too. Must organise them a bit.

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  6. as for mates for your crew, cowboy steve serves the best grub!! english and american are both permissible (but no slang - it's not fair.....i'm still trying to figure out what a 'wag' is....)

    and steve, well much like you and e.s. - they just seem to fall like lucky pennies from heaven onto my blog....

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  7. yessou, i have learned over the years that it may be OK to joke yourself but its not OK to joke other people... I still tread heavily at times, thus the disclaimerr on my site..
    "If I try to insult you its a sure sign I like you..."
    'The sheep look up but are not fed" a poem by milton or Blake orr something... i have read the book by brunner a lot of times but its the only Brunner I have read.

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  8. Steve: If you liked the sheep, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Shockwave Rider, there's some beautiful writing in it. Also 'The Squares of the City' set in a revolution-prone central american republic... the characters and events are unwittingly mirroring a chess game.
    As I looked it up I can confirm it's Blake.
    "Lycidas"
    The hungry sheep look up and are not fed."
    Like a lot of Blake it's full of nasty imagery, rot and contagion, Urgh! that's my response, whereas my first image of that line was fluffy, knit brained, benign, sheep, gazing stupidly at the clouds.

    RDG: He can't be the cook, because it's what he does to earn a living.
    For the rest of us, it would be a great boon, but we'd be cruising and he'd still be at work.The fair thing is to take turns, and produce mediocre meals until he demands sole ownership of the galley.
    Besides who knows if the colandered mailbox man wants to come aboard? have you asked him?

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