Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHURCHES, by THOMAS TRAHERNE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CHURCHES, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Those stately structures which on earth I view
Last Line: Unto his temple, 'cause 'tis nearer home.
Subject(s): Churches; Cathedrals


Those stately structures which on earth I view
To God erected, whether old or new;
His sacred temples which the world adorn,
Much more than mines of ore or fields of corn,
My soul delight: how do they please mine eye
When they are fill'd with Christian family!
Upon the face of all the peopl'd earth
There's no such sacred joy or solemn mirth,
To please and satisy my heart's desire,
As that wherewith my Lord is in a choir,
In holy hymns by warbling voices prais'd,
With eyes lift up, and joint affections rais'd.
The arches built (like Heaven) wide and high
Show His magnificence and majesty
Whose house it is: with so much art and cost,
The pile is fram'd, the curious knobs emboss'd,
Set off with gold, that me it more doth please
Than princes' courts or royal palaces;
Great stones pil'd up by costly labours there
Like mountains carv'd by human skill appear;
Where towers, pillars, pinnacles, and spires
Do all concur to match my great desires,
Whose joy it is to see such structures rais'd
To th' end my God and Father should be prais'd.



Were there but one alone
Wherein we might approach his throne,
One only where we should accepted be,
As in the days of old
It was, when Solomon of gold
His temple made; we then should see
A numerous host approaching it,
Rejoicing in the benefit:
The Queen of Sheba come
With all her glorious train,
The Pope from Rome,
The kings beyond the main;
The wise men of the East from far,
As guided by a star,
With reverence would approach unto that ground,
At that sole altar be adoring found.


Great lords would thither throng,
And none of them without a song
Of praise; rich merchants also would approach
From every foreign coast;
Of ladies too a shining host,
If not on horseback, in a coach;
This single church would crowded be
With men of great and high degree:
We princes might behold
With glittering sceptres there
Inlaid with gold
And precious stones, draw near.
No room for mean ones there would be,
Nor place for thee and me:
An endless troop would crowding there appear,
Bringing new presents daily every year.


But now we churches have
In every coast, which bounty gave
Most freely to us; now they sprinkled stand
With so much care and love,
In this rich vale, nigh yonder grove
That men might come in every land
To them with greater ease; lo, we
Those blest abodes neglected see:
As if our God were worse
Because His love is more,
And doth disburse
Itself in greater store;
Nor can object with any face
The distance of the place;
Ungrateful we with slower haste do come
Unto His temple, 'cause 'tis nearer home.

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