Thoughts (III)

by Thomas Traherne

Thoughts are the Angels which we send abroad,
To visit all the parts of God's abode.
Thoughts are the things wherein we all confess
The quintessence of sin and holiness
Is laid. All wisdom in a thought doth shine,
By thoughts alone the soul is made divine.
Thoughts are the springs of all our actions here
On earth, tho' they themselves do not appear.
They are the springs of beauty, order, peace,
The city's gallantries, the fields' increase.
Rule, government, and kingdoms flow from them,
And so doth all the New Jerusalem,
At least the glory, splendour, and delight,
For 'tis by thoughts that even she is bright.
Thoughts are the things wherewith even God is crown'd,
And as the soul without them's useless found,
So are all other creatures too. A thought
Is even the very cream of all He wrought.
All holy fear, and love, and reverence,
With honour, joy, and praise, as well as sense,
Are hidden in our thoughts. Thoughts are the things
That us affect: The honey and the stings
Of all that is are seated in a thought,
Even while it seemeth weak, and next to nought.
The matter of all pleasure, virtue, worth,
Grief, anger, hate, revenge, which words set forth,
Are thoughts alone. Thoughts are the highest things,
The very offspring of the King of Kings.
Thoughts are a kind of strange celestial creature
That when they're good, they're such in every feature.
They bear the image of their Father's face,
And beautify even all His dwelling-place:
So nimble, volatile, and unconfined,
Illimited, to which no form's assigned,
So changeable, capacious, easy, free,
That what itself doth please a thought may be.
From nothing to infinity it turns,
Even in a moment: Now like fire it burns,
Now's frozen ice: Now shapes the glorious sun,
Now darkness in a moment doth become.
Now all at once: Now crowded in a sand,
Now fills the hemisphere, and sees a land:
Now on a sudden's wider than the sky,
And now runs parile with the Deity.
'Tis such that it may all or nothing be,
And's made so active, voluble, and free
Because 'tis capable of all that's good,
And is the end of all when understood.
A thought can clothe itself with all the treasures
Of God, and be the greatest of His pleasures.
It all His laws, and glorious works, and ways,
And attributes and counsels, all His praise
It can conceive and imitate, and give:
It is the only being that doth live.
'Tis capable of all perfection here,
Of all His love and joy and glory there.
It is the only beauty that doth shine,
Most great, transcendent, heavenly, and divine.
The very best or worst of things it is,
The basis of all misery or bliss.
Its measures and capacities are such,
Their utmost measure we can never touch.
Here ornament on ornament may still
Be laid; beauty on beauty, skill on skill,
Strength still on strength, and life itself on life,
'Tis Queen of all things, and its Maker's wife.
The best of thoughts is yet a thing unknown,
But when 'tis perfect it is like His own:
Intelligible, endless, yet a sphere
Substantial too: In which all things appear,
All worlds, all excellencies, senses, graces,
Joys, pleasures, creatures, and the angels' faces.
It shall be married ever unto all,
And all embrace, tho' now it seemeth small.
A thought my soul may omnipresent be,
For all it toucheth which a thought can see.
O that mysterious Being! Thoughts are things
Which rightly used make His creatures Kings.

Monadnock Valley Press > Traherne