Jones Very

American poet and essayist

Jones Very (August 28, 1813 – May 8, 1880) was an American essayist, poet, clergymen, and mystic associated with the American Transcendentalism movement. He was known as a scholar of William Shakespeare and many of his poems were Shakespearean sonnets. He was well-known and respected amongst the Transcendentalists, though he had a mental breakdown early in his career.


  • I cannot hear thy voice with others' ears,
    Who make of thy lost liberty a gain;
    And in thy tale of blighted hopes and fears
    Feel not that every note is born with pain.
    • From The Canary Bird
  • I saw a worm, with many a fold;
    It spun itself a silken tomb;
    And there in winter time enrolled,
    It heeded not the cold or gloom.
    • From The Psyche
  • God walked alone unhonored through the earth;
    For Him no heart-built temple open stood,
    The soul forgetful of her nobler birth
    Had hewn him lofty shrines of stone and wood,
    And left unfinished and in ruins still
    The only temple he delights to fill.
    • From Enoch
  • Wilt Thou not visit me?
    The plant beside me feels Thy gentle dew;
    And every blade of grass I see,
    From Thy deep earth its quickening moisture drew.
    • From The Prayer
  • Come! for I need Thy love,
    More than the flower the dew, or grass the rain;
    Come like Thy Holy Dove,
    And let me in Thy sight rejoice to live again.
    • From The Prayer
  • The world doth ever change; there is no peace
    Among the shallows of its storm-vexed breast;
    With every breath the frothy waves increase,
    They toss up mire and dirt, they cannot rest;
    I thank Thee that within thy strong-built ark
    My soul across the uncertain sea can sail,
    And though the night of death be long and dark,
    My hopes in Christ shall reach within the veil;
    And to the promised haven steady steer,
    Whose rest to those who love is ever near.
    • From The Ark
  • I saw on earth another light
    Than that which lit my eye
    Come forth as from my soul within,
    And from a higher sky.
    • From The Light Within
  • 'Twas brighter far than noonday's beam;
    It shone from God within,
    And lit, as by a lamp from heaven,
    The world's dark track of sin.
    • From The Light Within
  • I see them, crowd on crowd they walk the earth,
    Dry leafless trees no autumn wind laid bare;
    And in their nakedness find cause for mirth,
    And all unclad would winter's rudeness dare;
    No sap doth through their clattering branches flow,
    Whence springing leaves and blossoms bright appear;
    Their hearts the living God have ceased to know,
    Who gives the springtime to th' expectant year.
    • From The Dead
  • They borrow words for thoughts they cannot feel
    • From The Dead
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