Thomas Montague Traherne

Here you will find the Poem Poverty of poet Thomas Montague Traherne


As in the house I sate, 
Alone and desolate, 
 No creature but the fire and I, 
The chimney and the stool, I lift mine eye 
 Up to the wall, 
 And in the silent hall, 
 Saw nothing mine 
 But some few cups and dishes shine, 
 The table and the wooden stools 
 Where people used to dine; 
 A painted cloth there was, 
 Wherein some ancient story wrought 
 A little entertained my thought, 
 Which light discovered through the glass. 

I wondered much to see 
That all my wealth should be 
 Confined in such a little room, 
Yet hope for more I scarcely durst presume. 
 It grieved me sore 
 That such a scanty store 
 Should be my all; 
 For I forgot my ease and health, 
 Nor did I think of hands or eyes, 
 Nor soul nor body prize; 
 I neither thought the sun, 
 Nor moon, nor stars, nor people mine, 
 Though they did round about me shine; 
 And therefore was I quite undone. 

Some greater things, I thought, 
Must needs for me be wrought, 
 Which till my craving mind could see 
I ever should lament my poverty; 
 I fain would have 
 Whatever bounty gave, 
 Nor could there be 
 Without or love or deity; 
 For should not he be infinite 
 Whose hand created me? 
 Ten thousand absent things 
 Did vex my poor and wanting mind, 
 Which, till I be no longer blind, 
 Let me not see the King of kings. 

His love must surely be 
Rich, infinite, and free; 
 Nor can he be thought a God 
Of grace and power, that fills not his abode, 
 His holy court, 
 In kind and liberal sort; 
 Joys and pleasures, 
 Plenty of jewels, goods, and treasures, 
 To enrich the poor, cheer the forlorn, 
 His palace must adorn, 
 And given all to me; 
 For till his works my wealth became, 
 No love or peace did me inflame: 
 But now I have a Deity.