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

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

NATURE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: That custom is a second nature, we
Last Line: While how the same is so I comprehend.
Subject(s): Beauty; Children; Nature; Childhood

That custom is a second nature, we
Most plainly find by nature's purity.
For nature teacheth nothing but the truth.
I'm sure mine did in my virgin youth.
The very day my spirit did inspire,
The world's fair beauty set my soul on fire.
My senses were informers to my heart,
The conduits of His glory, power, and art.
His greatness, wisdom, goodness I did see,
His glorious love, and His eternity,
Almost as soon as born: and every sense
Was in me like to some intelligence.
I was by nature prone and apt to love
All light and beauty, both in Heaven above,
And earth beneath, prone even to admire,
Adore and praise as well as to desire.
My inclinations rais'd me up on high,
And guided me to all infinity.
A secret self I had enclos'd within,
That was not bounded with my clothes or skin,
Or terminated with my sight, the sphere
Of which was bounded with the heavens here:
But that did rather, like the subtle light,
Secur'd from rough and raging storms by night,
Break through the lantern's sides, and freely ray
Dispersing and dilating every way:
Whose steady beams too subtle for the wind,
Are such, that we their bounds can scarcely find.
It did encompass, and possess rare things,
But yet felt more, and on its angel's wings
Pierc'd through the skies immediately, and sought
For all that could beyond all worlds be thought.
It did not move, nor one way go, but stood,
And by dilating of itself, all good
It strove to see, as if 'twere present there,
Even while it present stood conversing here;
And more suggested than I could discern,
Or ever since by any means could learn.
Vast unaffected wonderful desires,
Like inward, native, uncaus'd, hidden fires,
Sprang up with expectations very strange,
Which into new desires did quickly change.
For all I saw beyond the azure round,
Was endless darkness with no beauty crown'd.
Why beauty should not there, as well as here,
Why goodness should not likewise there appear,
Why treasures and delights should bounded be,
Since there is such a wide infinity:
These were the doubts and troubles of my soul,
By which I do perceive without control,
A world of endless joys by nature made,
That needs must flourish ever, never fade.
A wide, magnificent, and spacious sky,
So rich 'tis worthy of the Deity,
Clouds here and there like winged chariots flying,
Flowers ever flourishing, yet always dying,
A day of glory where I all things see,
As 'twere enrich'd with beams of light for me,
And drown'd in glorious rays of purer light,
Succeeded with a black, yet glorious night,
Stars sweetly shedding to my pleased sense,
On all things their nocturnal influence,
With secret rooms in times and ages more
Past and to come enlarging my great store:
These all in order present unto me
My happy eyes did in a moment see
With wonders thereto, to my soul unknown,
Till they by men and reading first were shown.
All which were made that I might ever be
With some great workman, some great Deity.
But yet there were new rooms, and spaces more,
Beyond all these, new regions o'er and o'er,
Into all which my pent-up soul like fire
Did break, surmounting all I here admire.
The spaces fill'd were like a cabinet
Of joys before me most distinctly set:
The empty, like to large and vacant room
For fancy to enlarge in, and presume
A space for more, remov'd, but yet adorning
These near at hand, that pleas'd me every morning.
Here I was seated to behold new things,
In the fair fabric of the King of Kings.
All, all was mine. The fountain tho not known,
Yet that there must be one was plainly shown.
Which fountain of delights must needs be Love,
As all the goodness of the things did prove.
It shines upon me from the highest skies,
And all its creatures for my sake doth prize,
Of whose enjoyment I am made the end:
While how the same is so I comprehend.

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