Like Shakespeare, Thomas Traherne, the son of a shoemaker, was of obscure origin. Like fellow metaphysical poet John Donne, Traherne found a living in the Church. And like the eccentric William Blake, Traherne’s work went largely unpublished and unrecognized until the 20th century, when an anonymous manuscript was discovered in a stack of discarded documents. Traherne’s work, nearly lost forever before this discovery, foreshadowed the Romanticism that caught fire two centuries after his time. Traherne’s writing show him to be equally accomplished as theologian and poet. Works like Centuries of Meditation—which C. S. Lewis called “almost the most beautiful book in English”—exhibit Traherne’s uncanny ability to marry deep theological reflection with transcendent literary style.
The Select Works of Thomas Traherne features his Centuries of Meditation, The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne, and his Poems of Felicity. Both his prose and poetry reflect a lifelong immersion in literature, scholarship, and scripture, teasing out truth with the fine point of a poet’s pen. These volumes provide a valuable viewpoint into seventeenth-century English literature, and are an asset to those interested in literature, theology, and their intersection.
Logos enhances these volumes with amazing digital functionality, eliminating your research’s legwork. Fully indexed texts enable near-instant search results. Scripture references appear on mouseover in your preferred English translation. Automatically integrated with the rest of your library, Traherne’s texts will resonate with an extensive library of English prose and poetry from the period—including work from John Donne, Shakespeare, and Abraham Cowley—and connect with a wealth of modern reference works. With Logos, the smartest tools and best library are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Thomas Traherne (1636–1674) was an English poet, clergyman, and theologian. Little is known of his life beyond his work. He is often identified as a metaphysical poet, though his style and subject matter often foreshadow nineteenth-century romantics. Only one of his works was published before his death and he was largely forgotten until the early twentieth century when Bertram Dobell published volumes of Traherne’s poetry and his Centuries of Meditations. He was educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Brasenose College, Oxford. He took holy orders in 1656 but was not ordained priest until the monarchy was restored in 1660. He was the private chaplain of Sir Orlando Bridgeman, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal to King Charles II, from 1667 until he died of smallpox in 1674 at age 37/38. He was buried in St. Mary’s Church and interred under the church’s reading desk. He owned little beyond books and he bequeathed his old hat in his will.<