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Henry Vaughan's Silex ScintillansScripture Uses$
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Philip West

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198187561

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187561.001.0001

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Hezekiah and the hand of heaven

Hezekiah and the hand of heaven

(p.63) CHAPTER THREE Hezekiah and the hand of heaven
Henry Vaughan's Silex Scintillans

Philip West (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The preface to Silex Scintillans (1655) is one of the most important pieces of 17th-century literary criticism about writing that Henry Vaughan, following George Herbert's usage, had come to call ‘true hymns’. It consists of four parts: ‘The Authors Preface’ praises George Herbert as a true poet and laments the ‘most gross and studied filthiness’ of contemporary verse. ‘The Authors Preface’ is followed by three pages of scripture taken from the Old Testament books of Isaiah, Jonah and the Psalms. In choosing a preface to comment on his sickness and recovery, Vaughan implied a special relation between his dramatic alterations of health and the completed Silex Scintillans. The most important text in the prefatory prayer to Silex Scintillans is Isaiah 38:1-8, the story of the sickness, recovery and thanksgiving of Hezekiah, king of Judah.

Keywords:   Henry Vaughan, Silex Scintillans, English poetry, George Herbert, thanksgiving, poetry, Bible, Hezekiah, sickness

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