Poem by seventeenth century Anglican mystic Thomas Traherne, whose life will be celebrated tomorrow, 10 October.
To walk abroad, is not with Eys
But Thoughts, the Fields to see and prize;
Els may the silent Feet,
Like Logs of Wood,
Mov up and down and see no Good,
Nor Joy nor Glory meet.
Ev’n Carts and Wheels their place do change,
But cannot see, tho very strange
The Glory that is by;
Dead Puppets may
Move in the bright and glorious Day,
Yet not behold the Sky.
And are not Men than they more blind,
Who having Eys yet never find
The Bliss in which they mov;
Like statues dead
They up and down are carried,
Yet neither see nor lov.
To walk is by a Thought to go;
To mov in Spirit to and fro;
To mind the Good we see;
To taste the Sweet;
Observing all the things we meet
How choice and rich they be.
To note the Beauty of the Day,
And golden Fields of Corn survey;
Admire the pretty Flow’rs
With their sweet Smell;
To prais their Maker, and to tell
The Marks of His Great Pow’rs.
To fly abroad like active Bees,
Among the Hedges and the Trees,
To cull the Dew that lies
On evry Blade,
From evry Blossom; till we lade
Our Minds, as they their Thighs.
Observ those rich and glorious things,
The Rivers, Meadows, Woods and Springs,
The fructifying Sun;
To note from far
The Rising of each Twinkling Star
For us his Race to run.
A little Child these well perceivs,
Who, tumbling among Grass and Leaves,
May Rich as Kings be thought.
But there’s a Sight
Which perfect Manhood may delight,
To which we shall be brought.
While in those pleasant Paths we talk
‘Tis that tow’rds which at last we walk;
But we may by degrees
Pleasures of Lov and Prais to heed,
From viewing Herbs and trees.
Denise Inge (ed.) Happiness and Holiness: Thomas Traherne and His Writings Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2008 (Canterbury Studies in Spiritual Theology)