The Retirement

By Henry Vaughan

FRESH fields and woods ! the Earth’s fair face !
God’s footstool ! and man’s dwelling-place !
I ask not why the first believer
Did love to be a country liver ?
Who, to secure pious content,
Did pitch by groves and wells his tent ;
Where he might view the boundless sky,
And all those glorious lights on high,
With flying meteors, mists, and show’rs,
Subjected hills, trees, meads, and flow’rs,
And ev’ry minute bless the King
And wise Creator of each thing.

I ask not why he did remove
To happy Mamre’s holy grove,
Leaving the cities of the plain
To Lot and his successless train ?
All various lusts in cities still
Are found ; they are the thrones of ill,
The dismal sinks, where blood is spill’d,
Cages with much uncleanness fill’d :
But rural shades are the sweet sense
Of piety and innocence ;
They are the meek’s calm region, where
Angels descend and rule the sphere ;
Where Heaven lies leiguer, and the Dove
Duly as dew comes from above.
If Eden be on Earth at all,
‘Tis that which we the country call.

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