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Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

Henry Vaughan was born at Newton-upon-Usk in Brecknockshire, Wales, the twin brother of the celebrated alchemist Thomas Vaughan. Both he and his brother attended Jesus College, Oxford but Henry left without taking a degree to study Law in London. His studies were disrupted by the Civil War, however, and he returned to Wales to practise as a doctor.

Vaughan published his first work, Poems, with the Tenth Satire of Juvenal Englished in 1646, followed by Olor Iscamus (The Swan of Usk) in 1651. His most memorable poetry is contained in his Silex Scintillans (The Gleaming Flint), a collection of meditative and religious poems which convey the depth of his faith and the sadness of lost innocence: "O how I long to travel back, And tread again that ancient track". His final work Thalia Rediviva, published in 1678, somewhat lacks his earlier sensitivity. He also produced a number of prose works on religious and medieval themes.

Henry Vaughan was proud of his Welsh origins and liked to be known as the Silurist after the Silures, one of the ancient British tribes which formerly inhabited Brecknockshire.

The Retreat
Peace
The Timber
Friends Departed


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