Traherne was an inconsequential literary figure during his life, whose works were unappreciated until long after his death. He led a humble, devout life, largely sheltered from the literary community. Only one of his works, Roman Forgeries (1673), was published in his lifetime. Christian Ethicks (1675) followed soon after his death, and later A Serious and Patheticall Contemplation of the Mercies of God (1699); but after that much of his finest work was lost, corrupted or misattributed to other writers.
His poems have a curious history. They were left in manuscript and presumably passed with the rest of his library into the hands of his brother Philip. They then apparently passed into the possession of the Skipps family of Ledbury, Herefordshire. When the property of this family was dispersed in 1888 the value of the manuscripts was unrecognised, for in 1896 or 1897 they were discovered by W. T. Brooke on a street bookstall. Alexander Grosart bought them, and proposed to include them in his edition of the works of Henry Vaughan, to whom he was convinced the writings belonged. He left this task uncompleted, and Bertram Dobell, who eventually secured the manuscripts, discerned that the author had attended Oxford University. He was then able to establish the authorship of Thomas Traherne.
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Famous quotes containing the word works:
“I believe it has been said that one copy of The Times contains more useful information than the whole of the historical works of Thucydides.”
—Richard Cobden (18041865)
“It [Egypt] has more wonders in it than any other country in the world and provides more works that defy description than any other place.”
—Herodotus (c. 484424 B.C.)
“Words are always getting conventionalized to some secondary meaning. It is one of the works of poetry to take the truants in custody and bring them back to their right senses.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)