Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE RETREAT, by HENRY VAUGHAN



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THE RETREAT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Happy those early days! When I / shined in my angel-infancy
Last Line: In that state I came return.
Alternate Author Name(s): Silurist
Subject(s): Absence; Children; Christianity; Faith; Innocence; Nostalgia; Regret; Separation; Isolation; Childhood; Belief; Creed


Happy those early days! when I
Shined in my angel-infancy.
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,
Or taught my soul to fancy aught
But a white, celestial thought,
When yet I had not walked above
A mile or two, from my first love,
And looking back (at that short space)
Could see a glimpse of his bright face;
When on some gilded cloud, or flower
My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
And in those weaker glories spy
Some shadows of eternity;
Before I taught my tongue to wound
My conscience with a sinful sound,
Or had the black art to dispense
A several sin to every sense,
But felt through all this fleshly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness.
O how I long to travel back
And tread again that ancient track!
That I might once more reach that plain,
Where first I left my glorious train,
From whence th' enlightened spirit sees
That shady city of palm trees;
But (ah!) my soul with too much stay
Is drunk, and staggers in the way.
Some men a forward motion love,
But I by backward steps would move,
And when this dust falls to the urn
In that state I came return.





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