The poet Henry Vaughan (1621-1695) is widely known as one of the so-called ‘Metaphysical’ poets. It is not so well known that he was born, lived most of his life, and died in the Usk Valley; hence his soubriquet ‘Swan of Usk’. His grave, in the churchyard of St Bride’s, Llansantffraed, is an important site of literary pilgrimage. The age in which Vaughan wrote was one of political and religious upheaval. As a staunch Royalist, he fought for the king and suffered the loss of friends and a beloved younger brother in the Civil Wars.
This book contains essays on Vaughan’s connections with the landscape, the church, and nature by Jeremy Hooker, Helen Wilcox and Jonathan Nauman, and on the political context of the wars of the 1640s and the interregnum of the 1650s by Robert Wilcher. During the last forty years of his life, Vaughan was a respected country doctor and this aspect of his life is discussed by Simone Thomas, herself a GP.
Finally, Elizabeth Siberry explains how Vaughan’s work was rediscovered in the nineteenth century and describes his subsequent influence on writers, artists and musicians in Brecknockshire and beyond. Each chapter is accompanied by the full texts of some of Vaughan’s best loved and some of his lesser known poems, with explanatory notes and brief commentaries.
Paperback | 128 pages | 234 x 156 mm | 2016
Over 30 colour illustrations