Poverty

by Thomas Traherne

As in the house I sate,

Alone and desolate,

No creature but the fire and I,

The chimney and the stool, I lift mine eye

Up to the wall,

And in the silent hall,

Saw nothing mine,

But some few cups and dishes shine,

The table and the wooden stools

Where people used to dine;

A painted cloth there was,

Wherein some ancient story wrought

A little entertained my thought,

Which light discovered through the glass.

I wondered much to see

That all my wealth should be

Confined in such a little room,

Yet hope for more I scarcely durst presume.

It grieved me sore

That such a scanty store

Should be my all;

For I forgot my ease and health,

Nor did I think of hands or eyes,

Nor soul or body prize;

I neither thought the sun,

Nor moon, nor stars, nor people mine,

Though they did round about me shine;

And therefore was I quite undone.

Some greater things, I thought,

Must needs for me be wrought,

Which till my craving mind could see

I ever should lament my poverty;

I fain would have

Whatever bounty gave,

Nor could there be

Without or love or deity;

For should not he be infinite

Whose hand had created me?

Ten thousand absent things

Did vex my poor and wanting mind,

Which, till I be no longer blind,

Let me not see the King of kings.

His love must surely be

Rich, infinite, and free;

Nor can he be thought a God

Of grace and power, that fills not his abode,

His holy court,

In kind and liberal sort;

Joys and pleasures,

Plenty of jewels, goods and treasures,

To enrich the poor, cheer the forlorn,

His palace must adorn,

For till his works my wealth became,

No love or peace did me inflame:

But now I have a Deity.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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