Alternative Saints: Eucherius, Paulinus of Nola, and Henry Vaughan's Silex Scintillans

Nauman, Jonathan
October 2011
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2011, Vol. 26 Issue 2, p264
Academic Journal
Two of the devotional translations Henry Vaughan printed in Flores Solitudinis (1654), 'The World Contemned' by Bishop Eucherius of Lyons and 'The Life of St Paulinus' by Francesco Sacchini, supply valuable insights into Vaughan's responses to times and environs largely hostile to his Laudian ideals. In 'The World Contemned', Vaughan dismisses worldly power and success through Eucherius's classical forensics and neoplatonic philosophical analyses. In the 'Vita Paulini', Vaughan translates more freely, implicitly portraying St Paulinus of Nola as his own spiritual father and a historical counterexample to Puritan claims to primitive holiness. Comparison of passages from these translations with passages from the second volume of Silex Scintillans (1655)-specifically, with the poems 'The Bird', 'The Night', and 'The Water-fall'-indicates how Vaughan's translation work also yielded imaginative insight for his sacred poetry.


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