Monday, March 23, 2015

Henry Vaughan*

Henry Vaughan (1622?—1655) was born in Wales. He and his twin brother, Thomas, entered Jesus College at Oxford in 1638. Thomas became a noted philosopher after graduation, however Henry left to pursue a law career in London before attaining his degree. At the outbreak of the English Civil War, Henry returned to Wales and dedicated himself to military service in the Royalist cause.

Vaughan's early verse is typical of the "Sons of Ben" who were followers of Ben Jonson. After a spiritual awakening in 1648, Henry Vaughan's poetry demonstrates the influence of metaphysical poets such as John Donne, and especially of George Herbert. He acknowledges the spiritual influence of Herbert: "whose holy life and verse gained many pious converts, of whom I am the least."

Palm Sunday

Hark! how the children shrill and high
Hosanna cry,
Their joys provoke the distant sky,
Where thrones and seraphims reply,
And their own angels shine and sing
In a bright ring:
Such young, sweet mirth
Makes heaven and earth
Join in a joyful symphony.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Henry Vaughan: first post, third post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.