Henry Vaughan: Silex Scintillans: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations

(1544 words)
  • Glyn Pursglove (University of Wales, Swansea)

Silex Scintillans is one of the great works of English poetry in the seventeenth century. To a reader of Vaughan's one previous publication, Poems, with the tenth Satyre of Juvenal Englished, which had been published in 1646, this new volume would have come as quite a surprise. Instead of the somewhat bloodless (and often rather shapeless) Cavalier lyrics which made up the bulk of that first collection, here were religious lyrics of great emotional intensity, considerable intellectual weight, and a verbal energy often disciplined into well-ordered poetic forms (though this latter quality has often been underestimated by later critics). The change of poetic and, presumably, personal direction which Silex Scintillans r…

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Pursglove, Glyn. "Silex Scintillans: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 July 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2066, accessed 30 June 2015.]