On the Poems of Henry Vaughan: Characteristics and Intimations

On the Poems of Henry Vaughan: Characteristics and Intimations

On the Poems of Henry Vaughan: Characteristics and Intimations

On the Poems of Henry Vaughan: Characteristics and Intimations

Excerpt

Wherever the question of the survival of the best in poetry without the assistance of biographers and popularisers is being debated, the instance of Henry Vaughan should not be left out. His present fame is one of the best practical arguments for the belief that the good thing is strong enough to pass through all the obstacles and shadows of a period into a permanent and conspicuous renown.

"Through night at first it will rejoice,
And travel into day,
Pursuing, with a still small voice,
That light that leads the way."

Campion, Traherne, Christopher Smart, Blake, Clare--these all reveal at a glance the mysterious silent evolution of poetic fame, and Vaughan is with them, illustrating perhaps more vividly than the others the same strangely beautiful theme, the seed growing secretly. In 1847, when H. F. Lyte edited Pickering's pretty pseudo-antique volume of Vaughan Sacred Poems , he began by presuming that "a desire . . .

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