June 7, 2014

Poem: The Morning-Watch

Prayer is the World in Tune, a Spirit Voice

The Morning-Watch is by the Welch physician, author, and poet, Henry Vaughan (1621-1695). It was first published in his 1650 collection: Silex Scintillans (The Flaming Flint) and is included in the Poems for All Seasons Appendix of the Divine Office (1974).

Read by poet, Brian Nellist

THE MORNING-WATCH by Henry Vaughan, 1650 (Public Domain)

O joys! infinite sweetness! with what flower’s
And shoots of glory my soul breaks and buds!
              All the long hours
              Of night, and rest,
              Through the still shrouds
              Of sleep, and clouds,
       This dew fell on my breast;
       Oh, how it bloods
And spirits all my earth! Hark! In what rings
And hymning circulations the quick world
              Awakes and sings;
              The rising winds
              And falling springs,
              Birds, beasts, all things
       Adore him in their kinds.
              Thus all is hurl’d
In sacred hymns and order, the great chime
And symphony of nature. Prayer is
              The world in tune,
              A spirit voice,
              And vocal joys
       Whose echo is heav’n’s bliss.
              O let me climb
When I lie down! The pious soul by night
Is like a clouded star whose beams, though said
              To shed their light
              Under some cloud,
              Yet are above,
              And shine and move
       Beyond that misty shroud.
              So in my bed,
That curtain’d grave, though sleep, like ashes, hide
My lamp and life, both shall in thee abide.

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