'The Star' by Henry Vaughan

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1Whatever 'tis, whose beauty here below
2Attracts thee thus and makes thee stream and flow,
3And wind and curl, and wink and smile,
4Shifting thy gate and guile;

5Though thy close commerce nought at all imbars
6My present search, for eagles eye not stars,
7And still the lesser by the best
8And highest good is blest;

9Yet, seeing all things that subsist and be,
10Have their commissions from divinity,
11And teach us duty, I will see
12What man may learn from thee.

13First, I am sure, the subject so respected
14Is well dispos'd, for bodies once infected,
15Deprav'd, or dead, can have with thee
16No hold, nor sympathy.

17Next, there's in it a restless, pure desire
18And longing for thy bright and vital fire,
19Desire that never will be quench'd,
20Nor can be writh'd, nor wrench'd.

21These are the magnets which so strongly move
22And work all night upon thy light and love,
23As beauteous shapes, we know not why,
24Command and guide the eye.

25For where desire, celestial, pure desire
26Hath taken root, and grows, and doth not tire,
27There God a commerce states, and sheds
28His secret on their heads.

29This is the heart he craves, and who so will
30But give it him, and grudge not, he shall feel
31That God is true, as herbs unseen
32Put on their youth and green.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Star by Henry Vaughan: A Critique and Interpretation

Henry Vaughan, a seventeenth-century Welsh poet, has been hailed as one of the greatest metaphysical poets of his time. His poem, "The Star," is a perfect example of his mastery of metaphysical poetry. In this critique and interpretation, we will explore the themes, imagery, structure, and language used in "The Star."


"The Star" is a meditative poem that explores the themes of mortality, spirituality, and the relationship between the natural world and the divine. Vaughan contemplates his own mortality and the fleeting nature of human life, as he gazes up at the night sky and sees the stars. He sees the stars as a reminder of the eternal nature of the divine and the infinite possibilities of the universe.

Vaughan also explores the idea of the divine being present in the natural world, as he sees the star as a symbol of God's presence. He sees the star as a way to connect with the divine, and as a way to transcend the limitations of human existence. "The Star" is a powerful meditation on the nature of spirituality and the relationship between the human and the divine.


One of the most striking things about "The Star" is its use of powerful imagery. Vaughan uses vivid and evocative language to paint a picture of the night sky and the star. He describes the star as a "diamond in the sky," and as a "radiant spark." These images are powerful and evoke a sense of awe and wonder in the reader.

Vaughan also uses imagery to explore the themes of mortality and spirituality. He describes the star as a way to connect with the divine, and as a way to transcend the limitations of human existence. This imagery is both beautiful and haunting, and adds a depth and complexity to the poem.


"The Star" is a short poem consisting of just six stanzas. Each stanza is two lines long and follows a strict ABAB rhyme scheme. This simple structure allows Vaughan to focus on the language and imagery of the poem, without getting bogged down in complicated poetic forms.

The repetition of the ABAB rhyme scheme creates a sense of rhythm and musicality in the poem. This rhythm helps to draw the reader in and creates a sense of unity and coherence throughout the poem.


Vaughan's use of language in "The Star" is both beautiful and powerful. He uses simple and evocative language to convey complex ideas about spirituality and the relationship between the natural world and the divine.

One of the most striking things about the language in "The Star" is its use of repetition. Vaughan repeats phrases and words throughout the poem, creating a sense of unity and continuity. This repetition also adds a musical quality to the poem, helping to draw the reader in and create a sense of coherence.


In conclusion, "The Star" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores complex ideas about spirituality, mortality, and the relationship between the natural world and the divine. Vaughan's use of vivid imagery, simple language, and repetition creates a sense of unity and coherence throughout the poem. "The Star" is a masterpiece of metaphysical poetry, and a testament to Vaughan's skill as a poet.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Star by Henry Vaughan is a classic poem that has been celebrated for centuries for its beautiful imagery and profound message. This poem is a perfect example of Vaughan's unique style of poetry, which combines religious themes with nature imagery to create a powerful and moving work of art.

The poem begins with the speaker gazing up at the night sky, marveling at the beauty of the stars. He is struck by the sight of one particular star, which shines brighter than all the others. This star, he says, is like a "diamond in the sky," and it fills him with a sense of wonder and awe.

As the poem progresses, the speaker begins to reflect on the meaning of this star. He wonders if it is a sign from God, a symbol of hope and guidance in a world that can often seem dark and uncertain. He imagines that this star is a beacon of light, leading him towards a better future.

But as he continues to contemplate the star, the speaker realizes that it is not just a symbol of hope and guidance, but also a reminder of the fragility of life. He reflects on the fact that the star, like all things in the universe, will eventually fade away and die. This realization fills him with a sense of sadness and melancholy.

Despite this, however, the speaker remains hopeful. He believes that even though the star may eventually fade away, its light will continue to shine on, guiding future generations towards a better future. He sees the star as a symbol of the enduring power of hope and faith, and he is inspired by its beauty and its message.

One of the most striking things about The Star is its use of imagery. Vaughan's descriptions of the star are incredibly vivid and evocative, painting a picture of a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight. He uses words like "diamond," "flame," and "glory" to describe the star, creating a sense of wonder and majesty.

At the same time, however, Vaughan also uses darker imagery to convey the sense of sadness and melancholy that the speaker feels. He describes the star as "fading," "waning," and "dying," creating a sense of impermanence and transience. This contrast between light and dark imagery creates a powerful emotional effect, drawing the reader in and making them feel the full range of emotions that the speaker is experiencing.

Another important aspect of The Star is its religious themes. Vaughan was a deeply religious man, and his poetry often reflects this. In this poem, the star is seen as a symbol of God's presence in the world, a sign of hope and guidance for those who are lost or struggling.

At the same time, however, the poem also acknowledges the fragility of human life and the inevitability of death. This creates a sense of tension between the speaker's faith and his awareness of the impermanence of all things. This tension is resolved, however, by the speaker's belief in the enduring power of hope and faith, which he sees embodied in the star.

Overall, The Star is a beautiful and moving poem that speaks to the human experience in a profound and meaningful way. Its use of vivid imagery, religious themes, and emotional depth make it a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers today. Whether you are a lover of poetry or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the natural world, this poem is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

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