The Reader Online is offering you an extra treat this week – not only is it Friday, the best day of the week, but also St David’s Day. So to celebrate the patron saint of Wales, and the fact that we’ll be taking Get Into Reading into North Wales very soon, here’s a poem from ones of the country’s finest, Henry Vaughan. Did you know that much of his work was inspired by the mountains of his home – now part of the Brecon Beacons National Park and River Usk valley? So we have a lot to thank Wales for.
(also, there’s some delightful daffodils to accompany the poem, as Spring is around the corner – or so we hope…)
I Walk’d the Other Day
I walk’d the other day, to spend my hour,
Into a field,
Where I sometimes had seen the soil to yield
A gallant flow’r;
But winter now had ruffled all the bow’r
And curious store
I knew there heretofore.
Yet I, whose search lov’d not to peep and peer
I’ th’ face of things,
Thought with my self, there might be other springs
Besides this here,
Which, like cold friends, sees us but once a year;
And so the flow’r
Might have some other bow’r.
Then taking up what I could nearest spy,
I digg’d about
That place where I had seen him to grow out;
And by and by
I saw the warm recluse alone to lie,
Where fresh and green
He liv’d of us unseen.
Many a question intricate and rare
Did I there strow;
But all I could extort was, that he now
Did there repair
Such losses as befell him in this air,
And would ere long
Come forth most fair and young.
This past, I threw the clothes quite o’er his head;
And stung with fear
Of my own frailty dropp’d down many a tear
Upon his bed;
Then sighing whisper’d, “happy are the dead!
What peace doth now
Rock him asleep below!”
And yet, how few believe such doctrine springs
From a poor root,
Which all the winter sleeps here under foot,
And hath no wings
To raise it to the truth and light of things;
But is still trod
By ev’ry wand’ring clod.
O Thou! whose spirit did at first inflame
And warm the dead,
And by a sacred incubation fed
With life this frame,
Which once had neither being, form, nor name;
Grant I may so
Thy steps track here below,
That in these masques and shadows I may see
Thy sacred way;
And by those hid ascents climb to that day,
Which breaks from Thee,
Who art in all things, though invisibly!
Shew me thy peace,
Thy mercy, love, and ease,
And from this care, where dreams and sorrows reign,
Lead me above,
Where light, joy, leisure, and true comforts move
Without all pain;
There, hid in thee, shew me his life again,
At whose dumb urn
Thus all the year I mourn.