Henry Vaughan

Vaughan, Henry (vôn) [key], 1622–95, one of the English metaphysical poets. Born in Breconshire, Wales, he signed himself Silurist, after the ancient inhabitants of that region. After leaving Oxford, where he did not take a degree, he turned to the study of law. Later he switched to medicine and spent his life as a highly respected physician. His greatest poetry is contained in Silex Scintillans (1650; second part, 1655), which includes "The Ascension Hymn,""The World,""Quickness,""The Retreat," and "They are all gone into the world of light." Though he openly admitted his indebtedness to George Herbert, where Herbert celebrates the institution of the Church, Vaughan is more interested in natural objects and in a mystical communion with nature. Vaughan's other works include Poems (1646), Olor Iscanus (1651), Thalia Rediviva (1678), The Mount of Olives (1652), and Flores Solitudinis (1654).

See edition of his works edited by L. C. Martin (2d ed. 1957); complete poems edited by A. Rudrum (1981); biography by F. E. Hutchinson (1947); studies by E. Holmes (1932, repr. 1967), R. Garner (1959), R. A. Durr (1962), T. O. Calhoun (1981).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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