Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WHITE SUNDAY, by HENRY VAUGHAN



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

WHITE SUNDAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Welcome white day! A thousand suns
Last Line: Dissolve into the common dross!
Alternate Author Name(s): Silurist


Welcome white day! a thousand suns,
Though seen at once, were black to thee;
For after their light, darkness comes,
But thine shines to eternity.

Those flames which on the Apostles rushed
At this great feast, and in a tire
Of cloven tongues their heads all brushed,
And crowned them with prophetic fire:

Can these new lights be like to those,
These lights of Serpents like the Dove?
Thou hadst no gall, ev'n for thy foes,
And thy two wings were grief and love.

Though then some boast that fire each day,
And on Christ's coat pin all their shreds;
Not sparing openly to say,
His candle shines upon their heads:

Yet while some rays of that great light
Shine here below within thy Book,
They never shall so blind my sight
But I will know which way to look.

For though thou dost that great light lock,
And by this lesser commerce keep:
Yet by these glances of the flock
I can discern wolves from the sheep.

Not, but that I have wishes too,
And pray, These last may be as first,
Or better; but thou long ago
Hast said, These last should be the worst.

Besides, thy method with thy own,
Thy own dear people pens our times,
Our stories are in theirs set down
And penalties spread to our crimes.

Again, if worst and worst implies
A state that no redress admits,
Then from thy Cross unto these days
The rule without exception fits.

And yet, as in night's gloomy page
One silent star may interline:
So in this last and lewdest age,
Thy ancient love on some may shine.

For, though we hourly breathe decays,
And our best note and highest ease
Is but mere changing of the keys,
And a consumption that doth please;

Yet thou the great eternal Rock
Whose height above all ages shines,
Art still the same, and canst unlock
Thy waters to a soul that pines.

Since then thou art the same this day
And ever, as thou wert of old,
And nothing doth thy love allay
But our hearts' dead and sinful cold:

As thou long since wert pleased to buy
Our drowned estate, taking the Curse
Upon thyself, so to destroy
The knots we tied upon thy purse,

So let thy grace now make the way
Even for thy love; for by that means
We, who are nothing but foul clay,
Shall be fine gold, which thou didst cleanse.

O come! refine us with thy fire!
Refine us! we are at a loss.
Let not thy stars for Balaam's hire
Dissolve into the common dross!





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