The Timber

Sure thou didst flourish once! and many springs,
Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers,
Pass'd o'er thy head; many light hearts and wings,
Which now are dead, lodg'd in thy living bowers.

And still a new succession sings and flies;
Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot
Towards the old and still enduring skies,
While the low violet thrives at their root.

But thou beneath the sad and heavy line
Of death, doth waste all senseless, cold, and dark;
Where not so much as dreams of light may shine,
Nor any thought of greenness, leaf, or bark.

And yet—as if some deep hate and dissent,
Bred in thy growth betwixt high winds and thee,
Were still alive—thou dost great storms resent
Before they come, and know'st how near they be.

Else all at rest thou liest, and the fierce breath
Of tempests can no more disturb thy ease;
But this thy strange resentment after death
Means only those who broke—in life—thy peace.

by Henry Vaughan

Comments (5)

Extremely poignant and sad. The words coming out of the heart of a mourning father. I quote: Rest in soft peace, and, ask'd, say here doth lie Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
A touching poem expressing a father`s love for his young son who died of the plague. The last line, in which the poet distinguishes between love and like, is especially poignant. Love, he says, is generous and selfless. It wants what is best for his son, which for a Christian is that he be reunited with his creator. Like, on the other hand, is human and selfish. It leaves the father wishing the boy were back in his arms, even though it means exposing him to the world`s and flesh`s rage.
On line 10 it should be.. 'Ben.Jonson' with the full stop this adds to the poem as; the unusual line split emphasises the word 'Ben' and this focuses the reader on his son. The odd punctuation after 'Ben' helps the line have two meanings; If we ignore the full stop we read: 'Here doth lye/Ben Jonson' (the child) If we obey the full stop, we read: 'Jonson (the poet) his best piece of poetry'. This is a deliberate confusion of the two names in the poem perhaps symbolises that he sees himself united as on with his son, emphasising the bond of love. He created his son as he created the poem so they are physically part of each other. The full stop, however, also helps to reflect the way death has separated father and son. I just that was an important part. Also the title should be 'On my first Sonne'.
His son died in 1603... This is a deeply religious poem and totally reflective of the time.
a good very touching poem about the sad loss of the poets only son in 1616 and the happieness he should feel for his son.