Eternal God! Maker of all
That have lived here since the man’s fall;
The Rock of Ages! in whose shade
They live unseen, when here they fade;
Thou knew’st this paper when it was
Mere seed, and after that but grass;
Before ’twas dressed or spun, and when
Made linen, who did wear it then:
What were their lives, their thoughts, and deeds,
Whether good corn or fruitless weeds.
Thou knew’st this tree when a green shade
Covered it, since a cover made,
And where it flourished, grew, and spread,
As if it never should be dead.
Thou knew’st this harmless beast when he
Did live and feed by Thy decree
On each green thing; then slept (well fed)
Clothed with this skin which now lies spread
A covering o’er this aged book;
Which makes me wisely weep, and look
On my own dust; mere dust it is,
But not so dry and clean as this.
Thou knew’st and saw’st them all, and though
Now scattered thus, dost know them so.
O knowing, glorious Spirit! when
Thou shalt restore trees, beasts, and men,
When Thou shalt make all new again,
Destroying only death and pain,
Give him amongst Thy works a place
Who in them loved and sought Thy face!
Henry Vaughan 1621-1695