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Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Okay, friends, this night I have discovered Thomas Traherne, and you should too. His "Centuries, Poems and Thanksgivings" (two volumes) have been on our shelves since December 1996 (this I know from the inscription, as the books were given to us by our dear friend Anastassy Brandon Gallaher, to whom hello if he should read this, and thank you!) Amazing what you can find if only you look with fresh eyes at your own bookshelves. Anyway, enjoy these excerpts from the "Centuries" (since I have only been an ardent lover of Traherne for about 45 minutes, I have yet to discover why these little writings are called 'centuries', but it sounds cool anyway) -- I have modernized the spelling from its 17thc form in order for that distraction to be removed (tons of capital letters all over the place; that kind of thing) and the angelic writing to shine through:

This is very strange that God should want, for in him is the fulness of all blessedness: he overfloweth eternally. . .it is incredible, but very plain: Want is the fountain of all his fulness. Want in God is a treasure to us. For had there been no Need he would not have created the world, nor made us, nor manifested his wisdom, nor exercised his power, nor beautified eternity, nor prepared the joys of heaven. But he wanted angels and men, images, companions. And these he had from all eternity.
(First Century, #42)

The brightness and magnificence of the world, which by reason of its height and greatness is hidden from men, is divine and wonderful. It addeth much to the glory of that temple in which we live. Yet it is the cause why men understand it not. They think it too great and wide to be enjoyed. But since it is all filled with the majesty of his glory who dwells in it: and the goodness of the Lord filleth the world, and his wisdom shineth everywhere within and about it. . .we need nothing but open eyes to be ravished like the cherubim.
(First Century, #37)

They are deep instructions that are taken out of hell, and heavenly documents that are taken from above. Upon earth we learn nothing but vanity. Where people dream, and loiter, and wander, and disquiet themselves in vain. . .but do not profit becase they prize not the blessings they have received. To prize what we have is a deep and heavenly instruction. It will make us righteous and serious, wise and holy, divine and blessed. It will make us escape hell and attain heaven.
(First Century, #50)


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Matthew Francis said...

Hi there Mat. Jenny,

You can help weed out these types of wicked spammers by turning on the "word verification" on your blog. Basically this makes it so no computer-generated ads and wierd stuff comes through.

Thanks for the thoughts on Traherne!

thomasw said...

Jenny, you can also delete those comments if you desire. The last remark, #50, rings so true for me...