The Waterfall

by Henry Vaughan


With what deep murmurs through time’s silent stealth
Doth thy transparent, cool, and watery wealth
                        Here flowing fall,
                        And chide and call,
As if his liquid loose retinue stayed
Lingering, and were of this steep place afraid,
                        The common pass
                        Where, clear as glass,
                        All must descend
                        Not to an end ;
But quickened by this deep and rocky grave,
Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.
     Dear stream ! dear bank, where often I
     Have sat, and pleased my pensive eye,
     Why, since each drop of thy quick store
     Runs thither, whence it flowed before,
     Should poor souls fear a shade or night,
     Who came, sure, from a sea of light ?
     Or since those drops are all sent back
     So sure to thee, that none doth lack,
     Why should frail flesh doubt any more
     That what God takes, he’ll not restore ?
     O useful Element and clear !
     My sacred wash and cleanser here,
     My first consigner unto those
     Fountains of life, where the Lamb goes,
     What sublime truths, and wholesome themes
     Lodge in thy mystical, deep streams !
     Such as dull man can never find,
     Unless that Spirit lead his mind,
     Which first upon thy face did move,
     And hatched all with his quickening love.
     As this loud brook’s incessant fall
     In streaming rings restagnates all,
     Which reach by course the bank, and then
     Are no more seen, just so pass men.
     O my invisible estate,
     My glorious liberty, still late !
     Thou art the channel my soul seeks,
     Not this with cataracts and creeks.
Henry Vaughan | Classic Poems

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