Henry Vaughan

Henry Vaughan (vôn), 1622–95, one of the English metaphysical poets. Born in Breconshire, Wales, he signed himself Silurist, after the ancient inhabitants of that region. After leaving Oxford, where he did not take a degree, he turned to the study of law. Later he switched to medicine and spent his life as a highly respected physician. His greatest poetry is contained in Silex Scintillans (1650; second part, 1655), which includes "The Ascension Hymn," "The World," "Quickness," "The Retreat," and "They are all gone into the world of light." Though he openly admitted his indebtedness to George Herbert, where Herbert celebrates the institution of the Church, Vaughan is more interested in natural objects and in a mystical communion with nature. Vaughan's other works include Poems (1646), Olor Iscanus (1651), Thalia Rediviva (1678), The Mount of Olives (1652), and Flores Solitudinis (1654).

See edition of his works edited by L. C. Martin (2d ed. 1957); complete poems edited by A. Rudrum (1981); biography by F. E. Hutchinson (1947); studies by E. Holmes (1932, repr. 1967), R. Garner (1959), R. A. Durr (1962), T. O. Calhoun (1981).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Henry Vaughan: Selected full-text books and articles

Henry Vaughan: A Life and Interpretation
F. E. Hutchinson.
Clarendon Press, 1947
FREE! The Works of Henry Vaughan
Henry Vaughan; Leonard Cyril Martin.
Clarendon Press, vol.1, 1914
FREE! The Works of Henry Vaughan
Henry Vaughan; Leonard Cyril Martin.
Clarendon Press, vol.2, 1914
On the Poems of Henry Vaughan: Characteristics and Intimations
Edmund Blunden.
R. Cobden-Sanderson, 1927
Of Paradise and Light: A Study of Vaughan's Silex Scintillans
E. C. Pettet.
Cambridge University Press, 1960
Three Metaphysical Poets
Margaret Willy.
The British Council, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Discusses Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw, and Thomas Traherne
Four Metaphysical Poets: Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Crashaw
Joan Bennett.
Cambridge University Press, 1953 (2nd edition)
Poets and Mystics
E. I. Watkin.
Sheed & Ward, 1953
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "Henry Vaughan"
John Donne and the Seventeenth-Century Metaphysical Poets
Harold Bloom.
Chelsea House, 1986
Librarian’s tip: "Henry Vaughan: Modes of Communication" begins on p. 139
Poetry and Humanism
M. M. Mahood.
Cape, 1950
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Vaughan: The Symphony of Nature"
The Cultural Revolution of the Seventeenth Century
S. L. Bethell.
D. Dobson, 1951
Librarian’s tip: "The Poetry of Henry Vaughan, Silurist" begins on p. 121
Of Paradise and Light: Essays on Henry Vaughan and John Milton in Honor of Alan Rudrum
Donald R. Dickson; Holly Faith Nelson.
University of Delaware Press, 2004
The English Civil Wars in the Literary Imagination
Claude J. Summers; Ted-Larry Pebworth.
University of Missouri Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Resistance, Collaboration, and Silence: Henry Vaughan and Breconshire Royalism" begins on p. 102
Renaissance Studies in Honor of Hardin Craig
Baldwin Maxwell; W. D. Briggs; Francis R. Johnson; E. N. S. Thompson.
Stanford University Press, 1941
Librarian’s tip: "The Theme of Pre-Existence and Infancy in the Retreate" begins on p. 292
English Lyric Poetry: The Early Seventeenth Century
Jonathan F. S. Post.
Routledge, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Arenas of Retreat: Blood, Bread, and Poetry in Henry Vaughan"
The Age of Milton: An Encyclopedia of Major 17th-Century British and American Authors
Alan Hager.
Greenwood Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Henry Vaughan" begins on p. 340
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