Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE AUTHOR TO THE CRITICAL PERUSER, by THOMAS TRAHERNE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE AUTHOR TO THE CRITICAL PERUSER, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: The naked truth in many faces shown
Last Line: But god's diviner works do ne'er admire.

The naked truth in many faces shown,
Whose inward beauties very few have known,
A simple light, transparent words, a strain
That lowly creeps, yet maketh mountains plain,
Brings down the highest mysteries to sense
And keeps them there; that is our excellence:
At that we aim; to th'end thy soul might see
With open eyes thy great felicity,
Its objects view, and trace the glorious way
Whereby thou may'st thy highest bliss enjoy.

No curling metaphors that gild the sense,
Nor pictures here, nor painted eloquence;
No florid streams of superficial gems,
But real crowns and thrones and diadems!
That gold on gold should hiding shining lie
May well be reckon'd baser heraldry.

An easy style drawn from a native vein,
A clearer stream than that which poets feign,
Whose bottom may, how deep soe'er, be seen,
Is that which I think fit to win esteem.
Else we could speak Zamzummim words, and tell
A tale in tongues that sound like Babel-hell;
In meteors speak, in blazing prodigies,
Things that amaze, but will not make us wise.

On shining banks we could nigh Tagus walk;
In flowery meads of rich Pactolus talk;
Bring in the druids, and the sybils view;
See what the rites are which the Indians do;
Derive along the channel of our quill
The streams that flow from high Parnassus hill;
Ransack all nature's rooms, and add the things
Which Persian courts enrich: to make us kings.
To make us kings indeed! Not verbal ones,
But real kings, exalted unto thrones;
And more than golden thrones! 'Tis this I do,
Letting poetic strains and shadows go.

I cannot imitate their vulgar sense
Who clothes admire, not the man they fence
Against the cold; and while they wonder at
His rings, his precious stones, his gold and plate,
The middle piece, his body and his mind,
They overlook; no beauty in them find:
God's works they hide, their own they magnify,
His they contemn, or careless pass them by.

Their woven silks and well-made suits they prize,
Value their gems, but not their useful eyes,
Their precious hands, their tongues and lips divine,
Their polished flesh where whitest lilies join
With blushing roses and with sapphire veins,
The bones, the joints, and that which else remains
Within that curious fabric, life and strength,
I'th' well-compacted breadth and depth and length
Of various limbs, that living engines be
Of glorious worth; God's work they will not see:
Nor yet the soul, in whose concealed face,
Which comprehendeth all unbounded space,
God may be seen; tho she can understand
The length of ages and the tracts of land
That from the zodiac do extended lie
Unto the poles, and view eternity.

Even thus do idle fancies, toys, and words
(Like gilded scabbards hiding rusty swords)
Take vulgar souls, who gaze on rich attire
But God's diviner works do ne'er admire.

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