Edmund Waller: Divine Poems

(444 words)
  • Glyn Pursglove (University College of Wales, Swansea)

Edmund Waller's Divine Poems, published when the author was a very old man, make up a slim octavo volume of a mere 35 pages. The volume contains a few discursive poems in heroic couplets, the longest of which is “Of Divine Love”, its near 300 lines divided into six cantos. Waller (a friend of Hobbes) was well aware of what he calls “late philosophy”, but for him such “new philosophy” (to borrow a phrase from Donne) did not “call all in doubt”. Waller's poems are written out of a seemingly sure conviction that “Sacred Writ” is “elder than light, and shall outlast the sun”.

To love is to believe, to hope, to know;
'Tis an essay, a taste of heaven below!…
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Citation:
Pursglove, Glyn. "Divine Poems". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 October 2000
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5571, accessed 24 November 2014.]