Thomas Traherne


News from a foreign country came, 
As if my treasures and my joys lay there; 
         So much it did my heart inflame, 
’Twas wont to call my soul into mine ear; 
                Which thither went to meet 
                        Th’ approaching sweet, 
                And on the threshold stood 
         To entertain the secret good; 
                        It hover’d there 
                As if ’twould leave mine ear, 
         And was so eager to embrace 
         Th’ expected tidings as they came, 
         That it could change its dwelling place 
                To meet the voice of fame. 

         As if new tidings were the things 
Which did comprise my wished unknown treasure, 
         Or else did bear them on their wings, 
With so much joy they came, with so much pleasure, 
                My soul stood at the gate 
                        To recreate 
                Itself with bliss, and woo 
         Its speedier approach; a fuller view 
                        It fain would take, 
                Yet journeys back would make 
         Unto my heart, as if ’twould fain 
         Go out to meet, yet stay within, 
         Fitting a place to entertain 
                And bring the tidings in. 

         What sacred instinct did inspire 
My soul in childhood with an hope so strong? 
         What secret force mov’d my desire 
T’ expect my joys beyond the seas, so young? 
                Felicity I knew 
                        Was out of view; 
                And being left alone, 
         I thought all happiness was gone 
                        From earth; for this 
                I long’d for absent bliss, 
         Deeming that sure beyond the seas, 
         Or else in something near at hand 
         Which I knew not, since nought did please 
                I knew, my bliss did stand. 

         But little did the infant dream 
That all the treasures of the world were by, 
         And that himself was so the cream 
And crown of all which round about did lie. 
                Yet thus it was! The gem, 
                        The diadem, 
                The ring enclosing all 
         That stood upon this earthen ball; 
                        The heav’nly eye, 
                Much wider than the sky, 
         Wherein they all included were; 
         The love, the soul, that was the king 
         Made to possess them, did appear 
                A very little thing.