Thomas Traherne


A learned and a happy ignorance 
          Divided me 
      From all the vanity, 
From all the sloth, care, pain, and sorrow that advance 
      The madness and the misery 
Of men. No error, no distraction I 
Saw soil the earth, or overcloud the sky. 

   I knew not that there was a serpent’s sting, 
          Whose poison shed 
      On men, did overspread 
The world; nor did I dream of such a thing 
      As sin, in which mankind lay dead. 
They all were brisk and living wights to me, 
Yea, pure and full of immortality. 

   Joy, pleasure, beauty, kindness, glory, love, 
          Sleep, day, life, light, 
      Peace, melody, my sight, 
My ears and heart did fill and freely move. 
      All that I saw did me delight. 
The Universe was then a world of treasure, 
To me an universal world of pleasure. 

Unwelcome penitence was then unknown, 
          Vain costly toys, 
      Swearing and roaring boys, 
Shops, markets, taverns, coaches, were unshown; 
      So all things were that drown’d my joys: 
No thorns chok’d up my path, nor hid the face 
Of bliss and beauty, nor eclips’d the place. 

 Only what Adam in his first estate, 
          Did I behold; 
      Hard silver and dry gold 
As yet lay under ground; my blessed fate 
      Was more acquainted with the old 
And innocent delights which he did see 
In his original simplicity. 

   Those things which first his Eden did adorn, 
          My infancy 
      Did crown. Simplicity 
Was my protection when I first was born. 
      Mine eyes those treasures first did see 
Which God first made. The first effects of love 
My first enjoyments upon earth did prove; 

   And were so great, and so divine, so pure; 
          So fair and sweet, 
      So true; when I did meet 
Them here at first, they did my soul allure, 
      And drew away my infant feet 
Quite from the works of men; that I might see 
The glorious wonders of the Deity.