Home  »  Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse  »  The Dawning

Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Henry Vaughan (1622–1695)

The Dawning

AH! what time wilt Thou come? when shall that cry,
The Bridegroom’s coming! fill the sky;
Shall it in the evening run
When our words and works are done?
Or will Thy all-surprising light        5
        Break at midnight,
When either sleep or some dark pleasure
Possesseth mad man without measure?
Or shall these early, fragrant hours
        Unlock Thy bow’rs,        10
And with their blush of light descry
Thy locks crown’d with eternity?
Indeed, it is the only time
That with Thy glory doth best chime;
All now are stirring, ev’ry field        15
        Full hymns doth yield;
The whole Creation shakes off night,
And for Thy shadow looks the light;
Stars now vanish without number,
Sleepy planets set and slumber,        20
The pursy clouds disband and scatter,
All expect some sudden matter;
Not one beam triumphs but from far
        That morning-star.
O at what time soever thou        25
Unknown to us the heavens wilt bow,
And, with Thy angels in the van,
Descend to judge poor careless man,
Grant, I may not like puddle lie
In a corrupt security,        30
Where if a traveller water crave,
He finds it dead, and in a grave.
But as this restless, vocal spring
All day and night doth run, and sing,
And though here born, yet is acquainted        35
Elsewhere, and flowing keeps untainted;
So let me all my busy age
In Thy free services engage;
And though (while here) of force I must
Have commerce sometimes with poor dust,        40
And in my flesh, though vile and low,
As this doth in her channel flow,
Yet let my course, my aim, my love,
And chief acquaintance be above;
So when that day and hour shall come,        45
In which Thyself will be the sun,
Thou’lt find me drest and on my way,
Watching the break of Thy great day.