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The oldest poem of them all...
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Re: The Ancient Stones of Wales by Chris Barber and John Godfrey Williams, the authors relate that -

“Some of the secrets relating to our ancient pillar stones may have been known to the great Welsh mystical poet Henry Vaughan, who in his book of sacred poems published in 1650 and called Silex Scintillions has written a strange poem called Man. It has four verses of seven lines. Each and every verse has a peculiar reference to standing stones.”

Apart from the often quoted 1215 'poem' by Laymond, describing Stonehenge, this one by Henry Vaughan might just be the oldest poem (in the true sense of the word) about megaliths. The last lines in the last verse might resonate a little. With stones (and stoneheads?) in mind Vaughn writes -

Man is the shuttle, to whose winding quest
And passage through these looms
God order'd motion, but ordain'd no rest.

The poem in full follows (thanks again to moss for pointing it out).


Weighing the stedfastness and state
Of some mean things which here below reside,
Where birds, like watchful clocks, the noiseless date
And intercourse of times divide,
Where bees at night get home and hive, and flow'rs
Early, as well as late,
Rise with the sun and set in the same bow'rs ;

I would—said I—my God would give
The staidness of these things to man ! for these
To His divine appointments ever cleave,
And no new business breaks their peace ;
The birds nor sow nor reap, yet sup and dine ;
The flow'rs without clothes live,
Yet Solomon was never dress'd so fine.

Man hath still either toys, or care ;
He hath no root, nor to one place is tied,
But ever restless and irregular
About this Earth doth run and ride.
He knows he hath a home, but scarce knows where ;
He says it is so far,
That he hath quite forgot how to go there.

He knocks at all doors, strays and roams,
Nay, hath not so much wit as some stones have,
Which in the darkest nights point to their homes,
By some hid sense their Maker gave ;
Man is the shuttle, to whose winding quest
And passage through these looms
God order'd motion, but ordain'd no rest.

Henry Vaughan (1621-1695).

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Posted by Littlestone
25th June 2012ce

In reply to:

Megalithic Poems (Littlestone)

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