Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ESTATE, by THOMAS TRAHERNE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE ESTATE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: But shall my soul no wealth possess
Last Line: His ancient ways, are his, and my estate.
Subject(s): Soul


But shall my soul no wealth possess,
No outward riches have?
Shall hands and eyes alone express
Thy bounty? Which the grave
Shall straight devour. Shall I become
Within myself a living tomb
Of useless wonders? Shall the fair and brave
And great endowments of my soul lie waste,
Which ought to be a fountain, and a womb
Of praises unto Thee?
Shall there no outward objects be,
For these to see and taste?
Not so, my God, for outward joys and pleasures
Are even the things for which my limbs are treasures.


My palate ought to be a stone
To try Thy joys upon;
And every member ought to be
A tongue, to sing to Thee.
There's not an eye that's fram'd by Thee,
But ought Thy life and love, to see.
Nor is there, Lord, upon mine head an ear,
But that the music of Thy works should hear.
Each toe, each finger framed by Thy skill,
Ought ointments to distil.
Ambrosia, nectar, wine should flow
From every joint I owe,
Or things more rich; while all mine inward powers
Are blessed, joyful, and eternal bowers.


They ought, my God, to be the pipes,
And conduits of Thy praise.
Men's bodies were not made for stripes,
Nor anything but joys.
They were not made to be alone:
But made to be the very throne
Of blessedness, to be like suns, whose rays,
Dispersed, scatter many thousand ways.
They drink in nectars, and disburse again
In purer beams, those streams,
Those nectars which are caus'd by joys.
And as the spacious main
Doth all the rivers, which it drinks, return,
Thy love receiv'd doth make the soul to burn.


Elixirs richer are than dross,
And ends are more divine
Than causes are: material loss
Materials (tho they shine
Like gold and silver) are, compar'd
To what thy spirit doth regard,
Thy soul desire, thy love embrace, thy mind
Esteem, thy nature most illustrious find.
These are the things wherewith we God reward.
Our love He more doth prize:
Our gratitude is in His eyes,
Far richer than the skies.
And those affections which we do return,
Are like the love which in Himself doth burn.


We plough the very skies, as well
As earth, the spacious seas
Are ours; the stars all gems excel.
The air was made to please
The souls of men: devouring fire
Doth feed and quicken man's desire.
The sun itself doth in its glory shine,
And gold and silver out of very mire,
And pearls and rubies out of earth refine,
While herbs and flowers aspire
To touch and make our feet divine.
How glorious is man's fate!
The laws of God, the works He did create,
His ancient ways, are His, and my estate.

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