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Thomas Traherne

1637-74. English poet. He came from the Welsh borders, was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, and was subsequently rector of Credenhill (Herefordshire). In 1673 he published Roman Forgeries, a criticism of the Roman Catholic Church based on extensive reading in early church history. Christian Ethics appeared in the year after his death, but the works by which he is best known were not printed until the present century: Poems (1903) and Centuries of Meditation (1908). Despite a certain limitation both of idea and of expression, Traherne is a fit member of the succession of Metaphysical poets. He shared Vaughan's delight in childhood and sense of the glory of the created universe. His meditative works also show his links with the Cambridge Platonists,* but his elevation into rhapsody on the divine love and wisdom takes him into a realm that borders on the mystical. He is a store of devotional wisdom, whose work has been not unaptly compared with that of Thomas à Kempis.*