Classic Poetry Aloud

Classic Poetry Aloud

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Classic Poetry Aloud gives voice to poetry through podcast recordings of the great poems of the past. Our library of poems is intended as a resource for anyone interested in reading and listening to poetry. For us, it's all about the listening, and how hearing a poem can make it more accessible, as well as heightening its emotional impact. See more at: www.classicpoetryaloud.com


The Retreat by Henry Vaughan

April 17th, 2008

Episode 199 of 608 episodes

Vaughan read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- The Retreat by Henry Vaughan (1621 – 1695) Happy those early days, when I Shin'd in my Angel-infancy! Before I understood this place Appointed for my second race, Or taught my soul to fancy aught But a white celestial thought: When yet I had not walk'd above A mile or two from my first Love, And looking back—at that short space— Could see a glimpse of His bright face: When on some gilded cloud, or flow'r, My gazing soul would dwell an hour, And in those weaker glories spy Some shadows of eternity: Before I taught my tongue to wound My Conscience with a sinful sound, Or had the black art to dispense A several sin to ev'ry sense, But felt through all this fleshly dress Bright shoots of everlastingness. O how I long to travel back, And tread again that ancient track! That I might once more reach that plain Where first I left my glorious train; From whence th' enlightned spirit sees That shady City of Palm-trees. But ah! my soul with too much stay Is drunk, and staggers in the way! Some men a forward motion love, But I by backward steps would move; And when this dust falls to the urn, In that state I came, return.

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