406. News

Thomas Traherne. 1637?-1674

    NEWS from a foreign country came
As if my treasure and my wealth lay there;
    So much it did my heart inflame,
'Twas wont to call my Soul into mine ear;
        Which thither went to meet
            The approaching sweet,
        And on the threshold stood
    To entertain the unknown Good.
            It hover'd there
        As if 'twould leave mine ear,
    And was so eager to embrace
      The joyful tidings as they came,
    'Twould almost leave its dwelling-place
        To entertain that same.

    As if the tidings were the things,
My very joys themselves, my foreign treasure--
    Or else did bear them on their wings--
With so much joy they came, with so much pleasure.
        My Soul stood at that gate
            To recreate
        Itself with bliss, and to
    Be pleased with speed. A fuller view
            It fain would take,
        Yet journeys back would make
    Unto my heart; as if 'twould fain
      Go out to meet, yet stay within
    To fit a place to entertain
        And bring the tidings in.

    What sacred instinct did inspire
My soul in childhood with a hope so strong?
    What secret force moved my desire
To expect my joys beyond the seas, so young?
        Felicity I knew
            Was out of view,
        And being here alone,
    I saw that happiness was gone
            From me! For this
        I thirsted absent bliss,
    And thought that sure beyond the seas,
      Or else in something near at hand--
    I knew not yet--since naught did please
        I knew--my Bliss did stand.

    But little did the infant dream
That all the treasures of the world were by:
    And that himself was so the cream
And crown of all which round about did lie.
        Yet thus it was: the Gem,
            The Diadem,
        The ring enclosing all
    That stood upon this earthly ball,
            The Heavenly eye,
        Much wider than the sky,
    Wherein they all included were,
      The glorious Soul, that was the King
    Made to possess them, did appear
        A small and little thing!

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition