Henry Vaughan

1621 - 23 April 1695 / Brecknockshire, Wales

As Time One Day By Me Did Pass

AS Time one day by me did pass,
Through a large dusky glass
He held, I chanc'd to look,
And spied his curious book
Of past days, where sad Heav'n did shed
A mourning light upon the dead.

Many disorder'd lives I saw,
And foul records, which thaw
My kind eyes still, but in
A fair, white page of thin
And ev'n, smooth lines, like the sun's rays,
Thy name was writ, and all thy days.

O bright and happy kalendar !
Where youth shines like a star
All pearl'd with tears, and may
Teach age the holy way ;
Where through thick pangs, high agonies,
Faith into life breaks, and Death dies.

As some meek night-piece which day quails,
To candle-light unveils :
So by one beamy line
From thy bright lamp, did shine
In the same page thy humble grave,
Set with green herbs, glad hopes and brave.

Here slept my thought's dear mark ! which dust
Seem'd to devour, like rust ;
But dust—I did observe—
By hiding doth preserve ;
As we for long and sure recruits,
Candy with sugar our choice fruits.

O calm and sacred bed, where lies
In death's dark mysteries
A beauty far more bright
Than the noon's cloudless light ;
For whose dry dust green branches bud,
And robes are bleach'd in the Lamb's blood.

Sleep, happy ashes !—blessed sleep !—
While hapless I still weep ;
Weep that I have outliv'd
My life, and unreliev'd
Must—soullesse shadow !—so live on,
Though life be dead, and my joys gone.
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