A World of Deep Delight (From Flourish Volume 7)



How like an angel came I down!
How bright are all things here!
When first among his works I did appear
O how their glory me did crown!
The world resembled his eternity,
In which my soul did walk;
And ev’ry thing that I did see
Did with me talk.

The skies in their magnificence,
The lively, lovely air;
Oh how divine, how soft, how sweet, how fair!
The stars did entertain my sense,
And all the works of God, so bright and pure,
So rich and great did seem,
As if they ever must endure
In my esteem.


~Thomas Traherne

On a brisk, bright, multicolored autumn day recently, a bit melancholic, I walked along a wooded trail. Catching sight of a chasteberry tree, actually more shrub than tree, with its clusters of fragrant, lavender-blue flowers, I paused. I looked at the lovely flowers. It had been months since last I looked, truly looked, at a flower. As I looked, I grew thicker inside, more centered, more grounded.

Continuing on, I came to a clearing. Looking up, I saw the sky, azure blue with wisps of cirrus clouds, and the bright, golden sun. I looked. It had been months since last I looked, truly looked, at the sky. As I looked, my heart grew lighter, more alive, more hopeful.

Continuing on, I happened upon a swarm of grasshoppers sunning themselves on a thirty-yard strip of asphalt trail. I stepped, and a dozen scattered high in all directions. I stepped again. Another dozen jumped. I paused, leaned over, and looked at the grasshoppers. It had been years since I had last looked, truly looked, at grasshoppers. Another step, another dozen. I laughed the deep laugh of delight.

As he was for Charlotte Mason, so is Thomas Traherne one of our favorite poets, for Traherne saw and knew what few see and know today–the glory of the “works of God.” For those who have eyes to see, the divine majesty is manifest in the good and the beauty of nature, the good and the beauty of human persons, and the good and beautiful work of human hands. Marred, corrupted, even enslaved by sin, undoubtedly, but something of the original glory of Eden remains around us and in us. An inability to see this glory and delight in it greatly impoverishes us and gives Satan more ground than he might otherwise have.

“All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being” (John 1:3). For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, the world is a gift, our inheritance from Him. At Ambleside schools, every day we seek to mediate this gift. Much of human flourishing depends on it.

Dr. Bill St. Cyr
Founder, Ambleside Schools International

Read more articles from Flourish Volume 7 here!