They Are All Gone
They are all gone into the world of light,
And I alone sit lingering here!
Their very memory is fair and bright,
And my sad thoughts doth clear;
It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,
Like stars upon some gloomy grove, —
Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest
After the sun's remove.
I see them walking in an air of glory,
Whose light doth trample on my days, —
My days which are at best but dull and hoary,
Mere glimmering and decays.
O holy hope! and high humility, —
High as the heavens above!
These are your walks, and you have showed them me
To kindle my cold love.
Dear, beauteous death, — the jewel of the just, —
Shining nowhere but in the dark!
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,
Could man outlook that mark!
He that hath found some fledged bird's nest may know,
At first sight, if the bird be flown;
But what fair dell or grove he sings in now,
That is to him unknown.
And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams
Call to the soul when man doth sleep,
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,
And into glory peep.
If a star were confined into a tomb,
Her captive flames must needs burn there,
But when the hand that locked her up gives room,
She'll shine through all the sphere.
O Father of eternal life, and all
Created glories under thee!
Resume thy spirit from this world of thrall
Into true liberty.
Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
My perspective still as they pass;
Or else remove me hence unto that hill
Where I shall need no glass.
Henry Vaughan, 1621-1695
British Wales mystic poet