Thomas Traherne quotes

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Thomas Traherne

Birthdate: 1637
Date of death: 10. October 1674

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Thomas Traherne was an English poet, clergyman, theologian, and religious writer. The intense, scholarly spirituality in his writings has led to his being commemorated by some parts of the Anglican Communion on 10 October or on September 27.

The work for which Traherne is best known today is the Centuries of Meditations, a collection of short paragraphs in which he reflects on Christian life and ministry, philosophy, happiness, desire and childhood. This was first published in 1908 after having been rediscovered in manuscript ten years earlier. His poetry likewise was first published in 1903 and 1910 . His prose works include Roman Forgeries , Christian Ethics , and A Serious and Patheticall Contemplation of the Mercies of God .

Traherne's poetry is often associated with the metaphysical poets, even though his poetry was unknown for two centuries after his death. His manuscripts were kept among the private papers of the Skipp family of Ledbury, Herefordshire, until 1888. Then, in the winter of 1896–97, two manuscript volumes containing his poems and meditations were discovered by chance for sale in a street bookstall. The poems were initially thought to be the work of Traherne's contemporary Henry Vaughan . Only through research was his identity uncovered and his work prepared for publication under his name. As a result, much of his work was not published until the first decade of the 20th century.

Traherne's writings frequently explore the glory of creation and what he perceived as his intimate relationship with God. His writing conveys an ardent, almost childlike love of God, and is compared to similar themes in the works of later poets William Blake, Walt Whitman, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. His love for the natural world is frequently expressed in his works by a treatment of nature that evokes Romanticism—two centuries before the Romantic movement.

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Quotes Thomas Traherne

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„Order the beauty even of beauty is,
It is the rule of bliss,
The very life and form and cause of pleasure.“

—  Thomas Traherne
"The Vision", stanza 2; The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne, B.D. (London: Bertram Dobell, 1903) p. 20.

„Why is this soe long detaind in a dark manuscript, that if printed would be a Light to the World, & a Universal Blessing?“

—  Thomas Traherne
Anonymous 17th century comment on the flyleaf of the Lambeth Manuscript of Traherne’s works; cited from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) vol. 55, p. 208.

„At present I'm re-reading Traherne's Centuries of Meditations which I think almost the most beautiful book (in prose, I mean, excluding poets) in English.“

—  Thomas Traherne
C. S. Lewis, letter to Arthur Greeves in December 1941. http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=978

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