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Thomas Traherne

Thomas Traherne (1636 or 1637 - October 10, 1674) was an English poet and religious writer. He was born in Hereford, son of a shoemaker, and got the name Traherne from a wealthy innkeeper who raised him after his parentsí death. He entered Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1652, achieving an M.A. in arts and divinity nine years later. In the meantime, he worked for ten years as a parish priest in Credenhill, near Hereford, before becoming the private chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, the Lord Keeper of the Seals of Charles II, in 1667. He died in Teddington after seven years in this service.

Thomas led a humble and devout life, and only one of his literary works, Roman Forgeries (1673), was published in his lifetime. Christian Ethicks (1675) followed soon, but then much of his finest work was lost, corrupted or misattributed to other writers. It wasnít until 1896 that his poems were rediscovered, followed by their publication in Poems (1903) and Centuries of Meditations (1908).

Thomas was one of the Metaphysical poets and probably the most celebratory of all of them, his writing expressing an ardent, childlike love of God and a firm belief in manís relation to divinity. He introduced a childís viewpoint unknown in the religious literature of the time, recalling the innocence of childhood experience, with little mention of sin and suffering and concentrating more on the glory of creation, to the extent that some have seen his verse as bordering upon pantheism.



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