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Vaughan, Henry(vôn), 1622–95, one of the English metaphysical poetsmetaphysical poets,
name given to a group of English lyric poets of the 17th cent. The term was first used by Samuel Johnson (1744). The hallmark of their poetry is the metaphysical conceit (a figure of speech that employs unusual and paradoxical images), a reliance on
..... Click the link for more information. . Born in Breconshire, Wales, he signed himself Silurist, after the ancient inhabitants of that region. After leaving Oxford, where he did not take a degree, he turned to the study of law. Later he switched to medicine and spent his life as a highly respected physician. His greatest poetry is contained in Silex Scintillans (1650; second part, 1655), which includes "The Ascension Hymn," "The World," "Quickness," "The Retreat," and "They are all gone into the world of light." Though he openly admitted his indebtedness to George HerbertHerbert, George,
1593–1633, one of the English metaphysical poets. Of noble family, he was the brother of Baron Herbert of Cherbury. He was graduated from Cambridge.
..... Click the link for more information. , where Herbert celebrates the institution of the Church, Vaughan is more interested in natural objects and in a mystical communion with nature. Vaughan's other works include Poems (1646), Olor Iscanus (1651), Thalia Rediviva (1678), The Mount of Olives (1652), and Flores Solitudinis (1654).
See edition of his works edited by L. C. Martin (2d ed. 1957); complete poems edited by A. Rudrum (1981); biography by F. E. Hutchinson (1947); studies by E. Holmes (1932, repr. 1967), R. Garner (1959), R. A. Durr (1962), T. O. Calhoun (1981).