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

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

SOLITUDE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: How desolate
Last Line: Shall I thee find to ease my mind! O where!
Subject(s): Solitude; Loneliness


How desolate!
Ah! how forlorn, how sadly did I stand
When in the field my woeful state
I felt! Not all the land,
Not all the skies,
Tho Heaven shin'd before mine eyes,
Could comfort yield in any field to me,
Nor could my mind contentment find or see.


Remov'd from town,
From people, churches, feasts, and holidays,
The sword of state, the mayor's gown,
And all the neighbouring boys;
As if no kings
On earth there were, or living things,
The silent skies salute mine eyes, the seas
My soul surround; no rest I found, or ease.


My roving mind
Search'd every corner of the spacious earth,
From sky to sky, if it could find
(But found not) any mirth:
Not all the coasts,
Nor all the great and glorious hosts,
In Heaven or earth, did comfort me afford;
I pin'd for hunger at a plenteous board.


I do believe,
The evening being shady and obscure,
The very silence did me grieve,
And sorrow more procure:
A secret want
Did make me think my fortune scant.
I was so blind, I could not find my health,
No joy mine eye could there espy, nor wealth.


Nor could I guess
What kind of thing I long'd for: but that I
Did somewhat lack of blessedness,
Beside the earth and sky,
I plainly found;
It griev'd me much, I felt a wound
Perplex me sore; yet what my store should be
I did not know, nothing would show to me.


Ye sullen things!
Ye dumb, ye silent creatures, and unkind!
How can I call you pleasant springs
Unless ye ease my mind!
Will ye not speak
What 'tis I want, nor silence break?
O pity me, at least point out my joy:
Some kindness show to me, altho a boy.


They silent stood;
Nor earth, nor woods, nor hills, nor brooks, nor skies,
Would tell me where the hidden good,
Which I did long for, lies:
The shady trees,
The evening dark, the humming bees,
The chirping birds, mute springs and fords, conspire,
To give no answer unto my desire.


Bells ringing I
Far off did hear, some country church they spake;
The noise re-echoing through the sky
My melancholy brake;
When't reach'd mine ear
Some tidings thence I hop'd to hear:
But not a bell me news could tell, or show
My longing mind, where joys to find, or know.


I griev'd the more,
'Cause I thereby somewhat encourag'd was
That I from those should learn my store;
For churches are a place
That nearer stand
Than any part of all the land
To Heaven; from whence some little sense I might
To help my mind receive, and find some light.


They louder sound
Than men do talk, something they should disclose;
The empty sound did therefore wound
Because not show repose.
It did revive
To think that men were there alive;
But had my soul, call'd by the toll, gone in,
I might have found, to ease my wound, a thing.


A little ease
Perhaps, but that might more molest my mind;
One flattering drop would more disease
My soul with thirst, and grind
My heart with grief:
For people can yield no relief
In public sort when in that court they shine,
Except they move my soul with love divine.


Th' external rite,
Altho the face be wondrous sweet and fair,
Will never sate my appetite
No more than empty air
Yield solid food.
Must I the best and highest good
Seek to possess; or blessedness in vain
(Tho 'tis alive in some place) strive to gain?


O! what would I
Diseased, wanting, melancholy, give
To find what is felicity,
The place where bliss doth live?
Those regions fair
Which are not lodg'd in sea nor air,
Nor woods, nor fields, nor arbour yields, nor springs,
Nor heavens show to us below, nor kings.


I might have gone
Into the city, market, tavern, street,
Yet only change my station,
And strove in vain to meet
That ease of mind
Which all alone I long'd to find:
A common inn doth no such thing betray,
Nor doth it walk in people's talk, or play.


O Eden fair!
Where shall I seek the soul of holy joy
Since I to find it here despair;
Nor in the shining day,
Nor in the shade,
Nor in the field, nor in a trade
I can it see? Felicity! O where
Shall I thee find to ease my mind! O where!

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