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

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE ODOUR, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: These hands are jewels to the eye
Last Line: If I the use of each don't apprehend.
Subject(s): Smells; Odors; Aromas; Fragrances


These hands are jewels to the eye,
Like wine, or oil, or honey, to the taste:
These feet which here I wear beneath the sky
Are us'd, yet never waste.
My members all do yield a sweet perfume;
They minister delight, yet not consume.


Ye living gems, how true! how near!
How real, useful, pleasant! O how good!
How valuable! Yea, how sweet! how fair!
Being once well understood!
For use ye permanent remain entire,
Sweet scents diffus'd do gratify desire.


Can melting sugar sweeten wine?
Can light communicated keep its name?
Can jewels solid be, tho they do shine?
From fire rise a flame?
Ye solid are, and yet do light dispense;
Abide the same, tho yield an influence.


Your uses flow while ye abide:
The services which I from you receive
Like sweet infusions through me daily glide
Even while they sense deceive,
Being unobserved: for only spirits see
What treasures services and uses be.


The services which from you flow
Are such diffusive joys as know no measure;
Which show His boundless love who did bestow
These gifts to be my treasure.
Your substance is the tree on which it grows;
Your uses are the oil that from it flows.


Thus honey flows from rocks of stone;
Thus oil from wood; thus cider, milk, and wine,
From trees and flesh; thus corn from earth; to one
That's heavenly and divine.
But he that cannot like an angel see,
In Heaven itself shall dwell in misery.


If first I learn not what's your price
Which are alive, and are to me so near;
How shall I all the joys of Paradise,
Which are so great and dear,
Esteem? Gifts even at distance are our joys,
But lack of sense the benefit destroys.


Live to thyself; thy limbs esteem:
From Heaven they came; with money can't be bought,
They are such works as God Himself beseem,
May precious well be thought.
Contemplate then the value of this treasure,
By that alone thou feelest all the pleasure.


Like amber fair thy fingers grow;
With fragrant honey-sucks thy head is crown'd;
Like stars, thine eyes; thy cheeks like roses show:
All are delights profound.
Talk with thyself; thyself enjoy and see:
At once the mirror and the object be.


What's cinnamon, compar'd to thee?
Thy body is than cedars better far:
Those fruits and flowers which in fields I see,
With thine cannot compare.
Where'er thou movest, there the scent I find
Of fragrant myrrh and aloes left behind.


But what is myrrh? What cinnamon?
What aloes, cassia, spices, honey, wine?
O sacred uses! You to think upon
Than these I more incline.
To see, taste, smell, observe, is to no end,
If I the use of each don't apprehend.

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net