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Henry Vaughan

Henry Vaughan: The Unfolding Vision

Jonathan F. S. Post
Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 266
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  • Book Info
    Henry Vaughan
    Book Description:

    Combining historical scholarship and intertextual criticism, this study reassesses Henry Vaughan's entire literary career with particular reference to his relationship to George Herbert.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5649-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xv-2)

    Writing in 1694 to his cousin, the antiquarian John Aubrey, Henry Vaughan concluded a brief account of the Welsh Bards with an extraordinary and not-so-brief description of one poet’s sudden genesis:

    I was told by a very sober & knowing person (now dead) that in his time, there was a young lad father & motherless, & soe very poor that he was forced to beg; butt att last was taken up by a rich man, that kept a great stock of sheep upon the mountains not far from the place where I now dwell, who cloathed him & sent him into the mountains to...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Vaughan In and Out of “the Shade of His Owne Bayes”: Poems 1646
    (pp. 3-24)

    “It is not enough for an ingenuous gentleman to behold these [ancient statues] with a vulgar eye, but he must be able to distinguish them and tell who and what they be,” writes Henry Peacham.¹ Much the same could be said of the “gentleman” poets of the 1630s and ’40s who moved among the statuesque figures of the Caroline court. It was important to be “in the know”—to praise the right women with the right phrase, to “tell who and what they be” in a manner that was at once distinct and poised yet not so “original” as to...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Olor Iscanus and the Disenchanted Muse
    (pp. 25-44)

    Sometime in the early 1640s Vaughan was chased back to his native Brecknockshire by the outbreak of the English Civil War. It is impossible to date his return with any precision, but in all likelihood it was in late 1642 or early 1643. London was in the hands of Parliament, men were rapidly choosing sides, and on August 22, 1642 Charles raised his standard in Nottingham and began preparations for an assault on London. Except for what can be gleaned from the translation of Juvenal’s Tenth, none of the lyrics inPoems1646 describe in any detail the events of...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Serious Play in Brecknock: Cavalier Fellowship and the Transmigration of Wit
    (pp. 45-69)

    “The man who has fallen,” writes Paul de Man, “is somewhat wiser than the fool who walks around oblivious of the crack in the pavement about to trip him up.”¹ Vaughan is both fool and wise man inOlor. The meticulous pairings of pastoral and elegy keep repeating the plummet from innocence to experience as the poet penetrates more deeply into the disturbing, and in some cases, paralyzing effects of the fall on the speaker’s consciousness. In these pairings, Vaughan reveals his continued preoccupation with the contrasting voices of “Philomel” and the “hoarse bird of Night,” but the volume would...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Eminent Measure: The Poetics of Conversion
    (pp. 70-115)

    Vaughan’s “conversion” to writing religious poetry inSilex Scintillanscan be misleading only if valued for the wrong reasons. When his first editor, the Reverend H. F. Lyte, interpretedSilexas the response of a man on “the brink of the grave” brought to the “high and holy claims of God,”¹ he initiated, in favorite nineteenth-century fashion, one of the biographical heresies which twentieth-century criticism has been generally so good at exposing. In this case, however, the situation has been different. Confusion about the poet’s “conversion” continues to persist largely because critics, in either denying or defending the event, have...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Making the Purchase Spread
    (pp. 116-156)

    “The best men are but Problematicall, Onely the Holy Ghost is Dogmaticall,” wrote Donne in his first Prebend sermon preached on May 8, 1625.¹ The Dean of St. Paul’s distinction between the best of men and the Best Man, between human and divine authority, was, of course, a commonplace in the Renaissance, and inThe Country Parson(1652) Herbert gives his version when he observes how a person should “not so study others, as to neglect the grace of God in himself.”² Vaughan’s study of Herbert might easily have led him “to neglect the grace of God in himself” and...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Spitting out the Phlegm: The Conflict of Voices in Silex Scintillans
    (pp. 157-185)

    Herbert’s “Obedience” is central to understanding the personal, poetic, and political links that developed between Vaughan and his master. Indeed, it would only be a slight exaggeration to suggest that the poem contains in miniature the proper “code” of behavior for all Christian poets, but especially for the poet whom the Anglican Herbert viewed as his companion in Christ. Without actually sealing a tribe in the manner of Jonson, he nonetheless called for a tribe of his own and so returned Jonson’s Biblical metaphor (Rev. 7:8) to its original spiritual source. There were, of course, many differences in being sealed...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN “The Night” and Vaughan’s “Late and Dusky” Age
    (pp. 186-211)

    In the margin opposite his discussion inMan in Darknessof Herbert as “a most glorious trueSaintand aSeer,” Vaughan singles out from his master’s “incomparable prophetick Poems” three works for special consideration: “Church-musick,” “Church-rents and schismes,” and “The Church Militant” (p. 186). As the common word in the title of each indicates, these poems share an obvious interest in the Church—its ceremonies, the potential agents of its destruction, and the history of its struggle on earth. Taken as a group, few poems better illustrate the gap that frequently divides contemporary from modern responses to Herbert. Except...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Thalia Rediviva: Looking Backward and Forward
    (pp. 212-234)

    In a letter of June 15, 1673, written to his cousin, John Aubrey, Vaughan mentioned in his summary of accomplishments, “Thalia Rediviva, a peece now ready for the presse, with the Remaines of my brothers Latine Poems” (p. 688). Aubrey had been inquiring into the details of Henry’s and Thomas’s lives for Anthony à Wood’s projected history of Oxford which appeared the following year and later elicited the poet’s gratitude “that my dear brothers name (& mine) are revived, & shine in the Historie of the Universitie” (p. 692). For reasons that are impossible now to determine,Thalia Redivivadid not...

  14. Index of Vaughan’s Works
    (pp. 235-237)
  15. General Index
    (pp. 238-243)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 244-244)