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

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MISAPPREHENSION, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Men are not wise in their true interest
Last Line: Yet lies within my womb.


Men are not wise in their true interest,
Nor in the worth of what they long possess'd:
They know no more what is their own
Than they the value of't have known.
They pine in misery,
Complain of poverty,
Reap not where they have sown,
Grieve for felicity,
Blaspheme the Deity;
And all because they are not blest
With eyes to see the worth of things:
For did they know their real interest,
No doubt they'd all be kings.


There's not a man but covets and desires
A kingdom, yea a world; nay, he aspires
To all the regions he can see
Beyond the heavens' infinity:
The world too little is
To be his sphere of bliss;
Eternity must be
The object of his view
And his possession too;
Or else infinity's a dream
That quickly fades away; he loves
All treasures; but he hates a failing stream
That dries up as it moves.


Can fancy make a greater king than God?
Can man within his Sovereign's abode
Be dearer to himself than He
That is the angels' Deity?
Man is as well belov'd
As they, if he improv'd
His talent as we see
They do; and may as well
In blessedness excel.
But man hath lost the ancient way,
That road is gone into decay;
Brambles shut up the path, and briars tear
Those few that pass by there.


They think no realms nor kingdoms theirs,
No lands nor houses, that have other heirs.
But native sense taught me more wit,
The world did too, I may admit:
As soon as I was born
It did my soul adorn,
And was a benefit
That round about me lay;
And yet without delay
'Twas seated quickly in my mind,
Its uses also I yet find
Mine own: for God, that all things would impart,
Centre'd it in my heart.


The world set in man's heart, and yet not his!
Why, all the compass of this great abyss,
Th' united service and delight,
Its beauty that attracts the sight,
That goodness which I find,
Doth gratify my mind;
The common air and light
That shines, doth me a pleasure
And surely is my treasure:
Of it I am th' inclusive sphere,
It doth entire in me appear
As well as I in it: it gives me room,
Yet lies within my womb.

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