Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHILDHOOD, by HENRY VAUGHAN



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CHILDHOOD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I cannot reach it; and my striving eye
Last Line: For sure that is the narrow way.
Alternate Author Name(s): Silurist
Subject(s): Children; Childhood


I cannot reach it; and my striving eye
Dazzles at it, as at eternity.
Were now that Chronicle alive,
Those white designs which children drive,
And the thoughts of each harmless hour,
With their content too in my pow'r,
Quickly would I make my path even,
And by mere playing go to Heaven.
Why should men love
A Wolf, more than a Lamb or Dove?
Or choose hell-fire and brimstone streams
Before bright stars, and God's own beams?
Who kisseth thorns, will hurt his face,
But flowers do both refresh and grace,
And sweetly living (fie on men!)
Are when dead, medicinal then.
If seeing much should make staid eyes,
And long experience should make wise;
Since all that age doth teach, is ill,
Why should I not love child-hood still?
Why if I see a rock or shelf,
Shall I from thence cast down myself,
Or by complying with the world,
From the same precipice be hurled?
Those observations are but foul
Which make me wise to lose my soul.

And yet the practice worldlings call
Business and weighty action all,
Checking the poor child for his play,
But gravely cast themselves away.

Dear, harmless age! the short, swift span,
Where weeping virtue parts with man;
Where love without lust dwells, and bends
What way we please, without self-ends.

An age of mysteries! which he
Must live twice, that would God's face see;
Which angels guard, and with it play,
Angels! which foul men drive away.

How do I study now, and scan
Thee, more than e'er I studied man,
And only see through a long night
Thy edges, and thy bordering light!
O for thy Centre and mid-day!
For sure that is the narrow way.





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